Screen Gems stakes claim to ‘Priest’ pic

Vampire Western to Screen Gems

Sony’s Screen Gems has bought the spec script “Priest” by tyro Cory Goodman. Mike De Luca, Sam Raimi and Josh Donen will produce.

No director is attached.

Vampire Western concerns a warrior priest who disobeys church law by teaming with a young sheriff and a priestess to track down a band of renegade vampires who have kidnapped his niece.

Producing with De Luca, Raimi and Donen is Mitchell Peck (“The Eli Cohen Project,” in development for director Kimberly Peirce at Sony).

Screen Gems senior VP of acquisitions and co-productions Benedict Carver brought the project in.

Raimi and Donen are producing via their new Sony-based shingle, which is separate from Raimi’s other production entity, Ghost House Pictures. New shingle was formed in January, when Donen, then Raimi’s agent at CAA, left his post as co-head of the agency’s motion picture lit department to team with the “Spider-Man” helmer.

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“Priest” is the first project announced since that partnership.

Project came about largely because of Donen’s ties with CAA. Tenpercentery packaged the pic and reps all involved parties.

De Luca is producing Columbia’s Marvel comicbook adaptation “Ghost Rider,” starring Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes and now shooting in Australia. He’s also producing Col’s “Zathura,” based on the children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg.

Raimi was an exec producer of Col’s recent horror hit “The Grudge” and is at work on the script for “Spider-Man 3,” which he’ll direct.