Errol Morris tries icy tale

Documentarian to direct Cryonics Project

Documentarian Errol Morris is taking on a narrative feature for his next project.

The “Fog of War” helmer will direct the Untitled Cryonics Project, which Zach Helm is writing.

Mandate Pictures and Steve Zaillian’s Film Rites are producing the dark comedy, which was inspired by both Robert F. Nelson’s memoir “We Froze the First Man” and a story that aired on “This American Life” this week titled “You’re as Cold as Ice.”

True story centers on Nelson, a TV repairman who in the 1960s joined a group of enthusiasts who believed they could cheat death with a new technology: cryonics. But freezing dead people so scientists could reanimate them in the future turned out to be harder than Nelson thought.

“This American Life’s” Ira Glass and Alissa Shipp are producing alongside Zaillian.

Gang of Two’s Jim Garavente and Helm exec produce alongside Mandate prexy Nathan Kahane. Film Rites’ Garrett Basch brought in the project and will co-produce with Mandate’s Tendo Nagenda.

Film Rites, which is a co-venture with Mandate, has a first-look deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment. Mandate Intl. will handle foreign sales on the film.

Morris, whose documentary credits include “A Brief History of Time” and “Fast, Cheap and Out of Control,” most recently produced and directed “Standard Operating Procedure.”

Helm, whose Gang of Two shingle has a first-look deal with Mandate, is the author of “Stranger Than Fiction” and “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium,” both of which he adapted for the bigscreen. The latter also marked Helm’s directorial debut.