Game and pic are ‘Death’

Guterman will helm Orange Grove production

Production-management shingle Circle of Confusion and videogame development company Backbone Entertainment are developing film and comicbook versions of “Death, Jr.,” a Backbone property being developed as a videogame for Sony’s forthcoming PSP (a portable version of PlayStation 2).

Pic will be a directing vehicle for Larry Guterman, who will also produce it through his Orange Grove Entertainment production shingle.

Guterman’s producing partner Holly Rawlinson will co-produce the film along with Circle of Confusion partner David Alpert and Circle partners Lawrence Mattis, David Engel and Jason Lust.

“Death, Jr.” is about a teenage kid who just wants to be normal but finds this hard because he’s the offspring of the Grim Reaper.

Death, Jr.’s middle-school buddies include Pandora, who is afflicted by the constant need to open boxes, and Stigmartha, whose hands bleed when she gets nervous.

Both the comicbook and film will be based on the vidgame due out early next year, when Sony’s PSP hits the market. Comic will be illustrated by Ted Naifeh, the artist behind independent toons “Courtney Crumrin” and “Gloomcookie.”

“Death, Jr.” marks Circle’s first foray into comicbook publishing, as well as franchise-building. Shingle reps many of the comicbook industry’s leading artists, such as Brian Michael Bendis (“Ultimate Spider-Man,” “Daredevil,” “Jinx”).

Guterman is currently in post-production on “The Son of the Mask,” starring Jamie Kennedy and Alan Cumming, which will be released by New Line in early 2005. Other directing credits include Warner Bros. CGI pic “Cats and Dogs.”