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Rise to finance films for Chris Columbus’ 1492

Projects include 'Christ the Lord,' 'Home Front,' 'House of Secrets'

Chris Columbus and his 1492 Pictures banner have signed a five-year deal with Michael Witherill’s Rise Entertainment under which Rise will develop and finance 1492’s upcoming slate.

Those projects include “Christ the Lord,” “Home Front” and “House of Secrets.” Columbus will produce all three along with his producing partners Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe and is expected to helm “Home Front,” with production set to start next summer. Columbus will helm “House of Secrets.” from a script he wrote.

“For years we have searched for partners as supportive and inspired as the group at Rise,” Columbus said in a statement. “Mike and his amazing team will enable us to make films with a wide emotional and commercial range, pictures with deep artistic integrity that will stand the test of time. It also gives us the ability to work with some of finest directors and actors of our generation.”

Christ the Lord” is based on the Anne Rice tome and will be the first film financed under the new deal. Story follows Jesus Christ when he is 7 years old and has returned to the war-torn Holy Land with his family.

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Cyrus Nowrasteh will helm from a script he penned with Betsy Nowrasteh.

“Home Front” will mark the first project Columbus will helm under the new deal and is based on the Kristin Hannah novel. Columbus also adapted the script.

The final project being developed under the new deal, “House of Secrets,” is an adaptation of the first in a book series that Columbus penned with Ned Vizzini. Rise has acquired the rights.

Giving the changing landscape, the new deal is quite significant for Columbus and 1492 and will provide financial security for the banner over the coming years.

“We could not be more honored to partner with Chris, Michael and Mark,” Witherill said. “Clearly, films directed by Chris and produced by 1492 Pictures have a track record that speaks for itself. We view ourselves as the supporting cast to fuel the unparalleled creative talent of the guys at 1492.”

Columbus and 1492 are repped by WME.

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