D’Works digs ‘Skeletons’

Lensing expected to begin by year's end

A correction was made to this article on Apr. 13, 2004.

Intermedia and DreamWorks are teaming up on “Skeletons of the Sahara,” a film based on the nonfiction book by Dean H. King about American sailors shipwrecked in Africa in the 19th century.

Project, which marks one of the first deals announced by DreamWorks’ new production prexy Adam Goodman, is on the fast track at the studio. Shooting is expected to begin by the end of the year. A director and cast must still be found.

In the partnership, DreamWorks will co-finance the project and provide worldwide distribution while Intermedia will produce with Baltimore/Spring Creek producers Paula Weinstein and Barry Levinson.

Carlo Bernard and Doug Miro penned the script. They wrote “The Great Raid” for Miramax and are finishing the rewrite of “The Talisman” for DreamWorks.

Mark Sourian is overseeing the pic for DreamWorks.

“Skeletons” covers the trials of several American sailors who were shipwrecked off the coast of North Africa in 1815, captured by the Bedouins and sold into slavery. Intermedia initially optioned the rights to King’s book in 2001, after it was brought to the company by Intermedia exec Alex Litvak.

Scott Kroopf, president of Intermedia’s motion picture group, said “Skeletons” is a timely project because it “deals with the development of a cross-cultural bond between Arabs and Americans in a way that is both relevant and positive.”

Intermedia is also partnering with Universal on “The 11th Hour,” a movie about the traitorous FBI agent Robert Hanssen. Billy Ray directs.

Both films mark a growing effort by the shingle to work with studios on co-financing and co-producing projects.

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