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‘Buick’ getting in gear

Romero to helm King story for Chesapeake

George Romero will helm an adaptation of the Stephen King novel “From a Buick 8” for Chesapeake Films, which is ramping up its initial slate.

Shingle also has set Tim McCann to direct suspense thriller “The Poker Club,” a co-production with Infinity Media (“Capote”) and Exile Films.

Both scripts were written by Chesapeake principals Johnathon Schaech and Richard Chizmar.

The duo’s other projects include an adaptation of King and Peter Straub’s bestselling novel “Black House” for Akiva Goldsman’s Weed Road Prods. and a pic based on Douglas Clegg’s “The Hour Before Dark” for Trilogy Entertainment and United Artists.

Schaech, a thesp best known for “That Thing You Do,” and Chizmar, founder-publisher of Cemetery Dance Publications, formed Chesapeake in 2004 with an eye toward writing, developing and co-producing two to three horror/suspense films per year.

“I’m getting to the age now where I want to create my own opportunities, for me and my family,” Schaech said.

“Because of our strong background in genre publishing, we plan to bring many of these literary gems to the bigscreen,” said Chizmar, whose company is a leading publisher of horror titles. “We have advance access to thousands of novels and short stories in the horror and suspense genre, many of which won’t see publication for years.”

First up for the banner is “The Poker Club,” based on the suspense thriller by crime scribe Ed Gorman. This tale of suburban violence focuses on four buddies who discover and accidentally kill a burglar — who may not be alone — in the kitchen during their weekly poker night. Their lives and the lives of their families are forever changed by the difficult choices they must make.

A January start date in Manitoba is planned for “Poker.”

“From a Buick 8” is the story of a state trooper who is killed on the side of the road. The man’s colleagues try to help his son cope, but when the boy discovers his father’s dark secret in the barracks’ back shed, things start to stir not only in the shed but in the hearts and minds of the veteran troopers who surround him.

“I’m very excited that George is interested in directing ‘From a Buick 8,’ ” said King, has worked with Chizmar and Cemetery Dance for years.

Schaech stars in the indie dramas “Sea of Dreams,” being released this month in Mexico, and next year’s “Little Chenier,” alongside Clifton Collins. He is in Louisiana filming “Roadhouse 2,” on which he and Chizmar did a rewrite.

Romero most recently directed the summer horror pic “Land of the Dead.”

McCann directed “Runaway,” which nabbed the feature prize at the Austin Film Festival.

Chesapeake and Romero are repped by Gersh.

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