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Universal reaches for ‘Heights’

Sets up thriller spec at Platinum Dunes

Universal is going to “Fiasco Heights,” snapping up a thriller spec penned by tyro writer Kyle Ward and setting it up with Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes banner.

Bay will produce with Platinum Dunes partners Andrew Form and Brad Fuller. Chris Bender, JC Spink and Mason Novick are exec producing; Steve Shin co-produces.

No director’s attached.

Story, which occurs in a stylized “hyper-real” noir environment akin to that of “Sin City,” centers on a notorious hitman who teams with a failed private eye in search of a missing woman and an invaluable briefcase.

It’s the first sale for Ward, who’s an assistant at DreamWorks.

Bay launched Platinum Dunes as a genre company to break in new directors with low-cost fare; its first pic was a remake of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” Next up were a remake of “The Amityville Horror” and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning.”

Platinum Dunes launched production in February with Mandate Pictures on “Horsemen,” a crime thriller starring Dennis Quaid and Ziyi Zhang. It aims to begin shooting a remake of “The Birds” for Universal by the end of the year.