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Franchise pact has ‘Sun’ ready to shine

Seagal will star in self-penned yakuza pic

Franchise Pictures has paid mid-six figures for the spec “Into the Sun,” an action film written by Steven Seagal and Joe Halpin as a star vehicle for Seagal. Elie Samaha made an aggressive deal that will likely put the picture into production by year’s end.

The drama will star Seagal as a retired special agent who is drawn into the treacherous world of the yakuza in order to protect his family. Seagal, who last scripted “Secret Smile” and usually does production polishes on films he stars in, enlisted the expertise of Halpin, a 19-year veteran of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Dept. who has worked the past 11 years as an undercover narcotics detective and done work with the DEA. WMA brokered the deal.

“I was raised in Japan and have been studying Japanese culture for over 30 years,” Seagal said. “I’ve also been an avid student of Kurosawa and was lucky enough to be in Japan with him and the stars and director of the original ‘Yakuza’ in 1974. I believe we’re going to show something that has yet to be seen in American films, and I’m glad we’re doing it with Elie and Franchise.”

“Into the Sun” will be produced by Seagal and Samaha, who last year bought “The Rescue” for Seagal, a project that has since been retitled “Out of Reach.” Phillip B. Goldfine and Tracee Stanley will co-produce “Into the Sun,” and Binh Dang will be associate producer.