Zombie ‘Deadworld’ on the horizon

Dark Hero, Pandemonium team on feature franchise

Dark Hero Studios partners David Hayter and Benedict Carver have joined with Pandemonium’s Bill Mechanic to turn the comicbook “Deadworld” into a zombie feature franchise.

Hayter (“Watchmen”) will write the screenplay, and he and Mechanic will produce with Framelight’s Robert L. Robinson Jr. and Jeffrey D. Erb. Carver and Pandemonium’s Suzanne Warren will be exec producers along with Gary Reed, who wrote and co-created the comic.

Pandemonium and Framelight will finance development.

“Deadworld” veers from the popular zombie mythology of depicting an apocalypse in which humans are overrun by flesh-eating corpses. “Deadworld” picks up four months after that event, where the Dead overtake the Earth, with humans few and far between. Protag is King Zombie, a Harley-riding corpse who holds a grudge against the survivors who made him an outcast.

The plan is to begin production next year.

Mechanic, who ran Fox when Hayter wrote the first “X-Men” film, saw the scribe as ideal to lay out what he hoped could be a multipic story arc. The offer fit in perfectly with Dark Hero, which Hayter and Carver formed as a way to put Hayter’s creative stamp on numerous films, TV and Internet properties in the sci-fi and horror genres. Aside from writing the script, Hayter will conceive and design the look of the film.

“It’s very much about the design of the Deadworld and creating cool, frightening but not necessarily gory creatures,” Hayter said. “I am a huge fan of zombie mythology.”

Mechanic said, “I’ve never done anything close to this subject, but I loved the whole world because it’s so unique.”

Mechanic, who most recently produced “Coraline,” adds “Deadworld” to several plum projects that include “Ness,” an Ehren Kruger-scripted graphic novel adaptation that has David Fincher and Matt Damon attached; “The C.O.,” scripted by Robert Schenkkan; and “Love Undercover,” which Brian Yorkey is penning.