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Tree Line setting down roots with ‘Follow’

'Identity' duo takes on tale of femme fatale

Writer-director James Mangold and producer Cathy Konrad have formed Tree Line Films and have set their first project at Disney with a thriller called “Follow Me” that Mangold plans to direct.

Tree Line will be based at Sony, under the terms of the pre-existing deal in place for Konrad, who has produced 16 films that include the “Scream” series and all of Mangold’s films since his breakthrough on “Cop Land.”

The duo met on that film, fell in love and married five years ago. They most recently teamed on the Mangold-directed “Identity,” a sleeper summer hit for Sony.

“Follow Me” is framed around a mysterious woman who hires a surveillance man to follow her around with a camera. The film is based on a Paul Griner short story.

“As things are slowly revealed and the man falls for this dangerous, intoxicating woman, he wonders if she will destroy him,” Mangold said.

The formation of Tree Line formalizes the couple’s intent to work together more often on films, allowing Mangold to become more involved in the ones he doesn’t write and direct. The prolific Konrad will produce some films solo, and the Tree Line banner will be on several films the pair has developed for Mangold to direct.

Taking a ‘Walk’

That includes “Walk the Line,” the Columbia-based Johnny Cash biopic that begins production early next year and stars Joaquin Phoenix as the original Man in Black and Reese Witherspoon as his wife June Carter Cash. Konrad is producing with James Keach.

Mangold and Gill Dennis wrote the script with the full cooperation of Cash and his wife before they died. The music is being produced by T-Bone Burnett (“O Brother, Where Art Thou?”). Pic is Cash’s story up to 1968, after he launched his star along with the likes of Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis.

“It was the most amazing window that led to the birth of rock and roll,” said Mangold, whose long interview sessions with Cash inform the script.

Other projects

Also folded into the new company are “3:10 to Yuma,” the remake of the 1957 Columbia Western that Mangold used as a touchstone for “Cop Land.” Michael Brandt and Derek Haas wrote the script for Mangold to direct.

Tree Line’s also producing “The Rich Part of Life,” an adaptation of the Jim Kokoris novel about an introverted Civil War professor and his family when they win millions in the Illinois state lottery. The pic’s also at Columbia.

Mangold and Konrad also recently set up “200 Block,” an MGM pic being developed for Tyrese to play an L.A. prosecutor who hails from the projects. His loyalties are tested during a corruption investigation that puts him in danger, both from the inner-city gang members he’s put in jail and the monied men his findings will destroy. Tyrese will co-produce with Jerome Martin.

WMA and Management 360 rep Mangold.

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