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Amazon signs Barker for ‘Zombies’

Studio has 16 feature projects in development

Fledgling Amazon Studios has signed Clive Barker to come on board its action horror project “Zombies vs. Gladiators” with a rewrite of the project.

Amazon Studios, which launched in November 2010, made the announcement Tuesday, noting that it has 16 feature projects in development at the retailing giant’s content development division. More than 9,000 movie scripts and 1,000 series pilot scripts have been submitted to the Amazon Studios site.

Zombies vs. Galdiators” is based in ancient Rome and opens as a shaman who is about to die in the Coliseum casts a spell that unleashes the world’s first zombies — leaving it up to a gladiator to stop the spread of the zombie horde and save Rome.

“‘Zombies vs. Gladiators’ is now in the hands of someone who has written genre-defining material throughout his career,” said Roy Price, director, Amazon Studios. “We are excited to see how Clive will add his unique narrative to capture the essence of this story and propel the project into something unique and original that could one day be enjoyed by all audiences.”

Barker said he plans to interweave the narrative threads of the decadence of Rome and its rise and fall along with the living dead. “My brief to myself on this project is to give the audience not only zombies they have never seen before but also a Rome they have never seen before,” he added.

Barker, prolfiic horror author, broke into Hollywood in 1987 when he directed “Hellraiser,” based on his novella “The Hellbound Heart.” He adapted and directed “Nightbreed” from his short story Cabal, exec produced “Candyman” and “Candyman 2: Farewell to the Flesh,” directed “Lord of Illusions” and exec produced “Gods and Monsters.”

Amazon Studios announced last November that it had signed producers Denise Di Novi, Bill Gerber and Edward Saxon to develop three original projects. DiNovi is attached to produce “Touching Blue”; Gerber will produce “Original Soldiers” and Saxon will produce “Children of Others,” written by Barrington Smith-Seetachit, which won the Best Script Award from Amazon in August.

Barker’s literary works include “Weaveworld,” “Imajica,” “Everville,” “The Thief of Always,” “Sacrament,” “Galilee” and “Coldheart Canyon.”

He’s repped by APA and Zero Gravity Management.

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