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Phoenix paving ‘Pathfinder’ redo

Nispel will helm Kalogridis script about Vikings

Phoenix Pictures has pacted with “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” remake helmer Marcus Nispel to retool 1987’s Oscar-nommed Norwegian suspense-actioner “Pathfinder.”

Original pic followed the exploits of warring tribes in ancient Norway. But in the new version, with a script by screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis (Oliver Stone’s “Alexander” and James Cameron’s upcoming “Battle Angel”), story concerns the little-known skirmishes that took place between the Vikings and Native Americans a thousand years ago.

When a Viking boy is left behind, he is adopted and raised as an Indian despite his straw-blonde hair. When a Viking raid wipes out his village, he becomes his adopted people’s savior in battling the Norsemen.

Phoenix is in negotiations with the Oscar-nommed Kensaku “Ken” Watanabe (“The Last Samurai”) to topline the epic tale. He’s lensing Sony’s adaptation of the bestselling Arthur Golden novel “Memoirs of a Geisha,” under the helm of Rob Marshall.

“Pathfinder” is being produced by Phoenix toppers Mike Medavoy and Arnold Messer; the original pic’s producer, John M. Jacobsen; and Lee Nelson and Brad Fischer.

No studio has been set for domestic distribbing yet, but Phoenix is understood to be in talks with several, and discussions on foreign rights sales are also proceeding.

Phoenix is lensing Columbia’s remake of Robert Rossen’s 1950 picture Oscar winner “All the King’s Men,” with Sean Penn toplining under the helm of Steve Zaillian.

Nispel, whose 2003 “Massacre” grossed more than $107 million worldwide for New Line, is attached to the psychological thriller “Need” at Paramount.

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