Zombies hit the football field

Mark Canton ready to adapt 'Play Dead' for bigscreen

Mark Canton and Lucky VIII Films are going long with the football-themed supernatural thriller “Play Dead.”

Newly minted Lucky VIII has acquired Ryan Brown’s debut novel and has tapped novelist-screenwriter Joe Schreiber to adapt for the bigscreen. Canton (“300”) is producing via his Atmosphere Entertainment shingle.

Story revolves around football player zombies bent on revenge in a gridiron-obsessed Texas town.

Schreiber’s latest book, “Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick,” was recently acquired by Paramount in a heated bidding war.

Gotham-based Lucky VIII is financing development and production of “Play Dead,” with lensing scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2011.

Canton — no stranger to the zombie genre, having produced the George Romero-helmed “Land of the Dead” — is also looking to develop a comicbook and vidgame based on the novel with fellow producers Danny Davids and Neil Canton. “Play Dead” marks the second film collaboration for the trio, who are also producing “Tunnels” for Relativity Media.

Lucky VIII’s Mary Beth O’Connor is also onboard as a producer on the “Play Dead” pic.

Book was published in May by Simon & Schuster/Gallery.