×

MGM enlists Broadway helmer for ‘Heck’

Timbers in talks to direct bigscreen adaptation as possible franchise starter

“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” helmer Alex Timbers is in final negotiations to make his feature directorial debut with MGM’s “Heck,” based on Random House’s bestselling children’s book series by Dale E. Basye.

“Dante’s Inferno”-esque story follows a boy and his older sister who die in a freak accident and are sent to Heck, a reform school for kids in the afterlife where teachers include Richard Nixon and Lizzie Borden. The duo plan to escape with the help of a map-wielding friend.

First entry in the four-book series is titled “Heck: Where The Bad Kids Go,” while followups concerning the different circles of Heck are titled “Rapacia,” “Blimpo” and “Fibble.” With a fifth book due this spring, MGM may feel that Basye’s series has franchise potential.

Karen Rosenfelt is producing the pic, which will be overseen by MGM prexy Jonathan Glickman and production VP Cassidy Lange. “Saturday Night Live” scribe David Iserson penned the original draft of the script, which will be rewritten by Chris Weitz.

As the Tony-nominated writer and director of the acclaimed Broadway rock musical “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” (which helped launch the film career of Benjamin Walker, star of Fox’s “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), Timbers has proven himself one of the top theater directors in the world. He also directed Paul Reubens on Broadway in “The Pee Wee Herman Show.” Timbers will next direct “Rocky: The Musical” for producer Sylvester Stallone. That show will premiere in Germany in late 2012.

On the feature side, Timbers has sold a pitch based on an original comedy idea to MRC and is attached to write and direct the project. He’s repped by WME, Caliber Media Co. and attorney Dave Feldman.

More Film

  • 'Curse of La Llorona' Box Office

    Box Office: 'Curse of La Llorona' Conjures $2.8 Million on Thursday Night

    “The Curse of La Llorona,” the latest entry in Warner Bros. and New Line’s “Conjuring” universe, conjured $2.75 million from Thursday preview showings, while “Breakthrough,” a faith-based offering from Fox-Disney, brought in $1.5 million from its second day of screenings. “La Llorona’s” haul tops recent horror counterparts “Pet Sematary” and “Escape Room,” which each took [...]

  • Chinese Films Make the Cannes Lineup,

    Cannes: Chinese Films Make the Lineup, but Will They Make It to France?

    Cannes has chosen two mainland Chinese titles for its official selection: Diao Yinan’s “Wild Goose Lake,” in competition, and Zu Feng’s “Summer of Changsha,” for Un Certain Regard. Both films appear to have received the necessary official approvals from Chinese authorities to premiere overseas. But their journey to the Cote d’Azur is by no means [...]

  • Festival director Thierry Fremaux speaks to

    Cannes: Thierry Fremaux on the Lineup's Record Number of Female Directors, American Cinema and Political Films

    The Cannes Film Festival has unveiled a lineup for its 72nd edition that includes some high-profile Hollywood titles, genre movies and films from 13 female directors. The official selection has been applauded by many for mixing established auteurs like Pedro Almodovar (“Pain and Glory”), Terrence Malick (“A Hidden Life”) and Xavier Dolan (“Matthias and Maxime”) [...]

  • RUDOLF NUREYEV 1961

    Film Review: 'Nureyev'

    It would be absurd to say that Rudolf Nureyev lived, or danced, in anyone’s shadow. He was a man who leapt and twirled and flew onstage, all muscle but light as a feather, with a freedom and force that reconfigured the human spirit. There’s no denying, though, that over the last few decades, and especially [...]

  • Die Kinder Der Toten review

    Film Review: 'Die Kinder Der Toten'

    The hills are alive (or rather, undead), with the sound of music (also mastication and the moaning of zombies) in Kelly Copper and Pavol Liska’s experimental, dialogue-free, home-movie-style riff on Elfriede Jelinek’s “Die Kinder Der Toten” (The Children of the Dead). A seminal text in Jelinek’s native Austria, the 1995 book has never been translated [...]

  • Idol review

    Film Review: 'Idol'

    How many twists can a plot undergo before it snaps? This, more than any of the many political, moral and personal conundrums that snake through “Idol,” seems to be the question writer-director Lee Su-jin is most interested in posing with his extravagantly incomprehensible sophomore feature. A seedy political thriller by way of grisly revenge movie [...]

  • The Last to See Them review

    Film Review: 'The Last to See Them'

    Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” stretches long as a late-evening shadow over Italian director Sara Summa’s feature debut “The Last to See Them.” The Italian title, “Gli Ultimi Viderli Vivere” which translates literally to “The Last to See Them Alive,” is also the heading of the opening chapter of Capote’s book. The setting is, similarly, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content