Pizza dough funds pic

Bicknell to invest in faith-based, family-oriented pics

Scribe Sarah Kernochan will pen an untitled religious-themed drama for producer Dan Halsted that’s among the first projects financed by former Pizza Hut mogul Gene Bicknell.

Plot revolves around a young woman who has a mystical experience that pits her against the Catholic Church and her town.

Bicknell plans to invest in a slate of faith-based and family-oriented pics.

Bicknell’s stepped-up interest in the movie biz — he’s produced several pics before, as well as doing some acting in the 1980s — comes less than two months after he sold his Pizza Hut franchise to Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity. He’s also authored or co-authored several books, including one on entrepreneurship and another on the Methodist Church.

Bicknell intends to finance the development and production of films that are either faith-based or uplifting, much along the lines of Philip Anschutz’s Walden Media.

Kernochan penned “What Lies Beneath,” “9½ Weeks” and “Sommersby.”

Halsted’s credits include “Garden State,” “The Virgin Suicides” and the upcoming Fox Searchlight pic “Margaret.” He is also working with Bicknell on an untitled project about a hermit that will be written by “Friday Night Lights” co-scribe David Aaron Cohen.