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Cannes 2010: With Dennis Lehane and Channing Tatum on board, Mark Hamill starts a new chapter

May 17, 2010 |  9:05 pm

We've generally been too busy running to interviews and screenings to relay every bit of project news announced at the festival -- going to the buffet, sometimes you have to skip the lettuce -- but one new slate caught our eye today.

Mark Hamill, he of "Star Wars" (and numerous stage productions) fame, is becoming a producer and has signed on some juicy projects to get him going. His company, Berkeley Square Films, is being launched by Paul Tamasy, who wrote the upcoming Mark Wahlberg-Christian Bale boxing drama "The Fighter"; the film-world figure Daniel Figuero; and a host of finance types, with Hamill sitting on the board and offering significant creative input.

Dennis Lehane, probably the best thriller novelist working today (he of course penned the books on which "Shutter Island" and "Mystic River" were based), is making his screenwriting debut with "Depravity," a thriller about people who dare one another to go further than they imagined that will be co-written with Tamasy, who'll direct the movie as well.

The company has also attracted some star power: Channing Tatum is set star in a recovery drama called "What's Left of Us," based on a hard-hitting memoir novel called "High on Crack Street." 

And both Tamasy and fellow "Fighter" writer Eric Johnson will collaborate on "Bullet," about a boy, a greyhound he rescues and the brutal world of dog racing.

All of these come on the heels of the adaptation of the Dark Horse comic "The Black Pearl," which Berkeley Square is also producing and which Hamill is attached to direct.

In an interview with 24 Frames, Hamill said he believes that one can design commercial projects with a little more soul and intelligence if they're designed in an independent context. "What we're trying to do is say you can you supplant visceral kind of thrills with cerebral thrills," he said. "If you keep your overhead low enough you can take gambles."

-- Steven Zeitchik, reporting from Cannes, France

http://twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT


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