Fred Durst returns to directing with 'Pawn Shop Chronicles'
EXCLUSIVE: Fred Durst might have earned himself a name by grabbing some nookie circa 1999. But the multi-platinum recording artist is now continuing to pursue his other passion -- directing movies.
The Limp Bizkit frontman -- currently on a reunion tour in Europe with his old band -- has signed on to direct "Pawn Shop Chronicles." It's based on a script from a newcomer named Adam Minarovich, and the idea is for an ensemble action/black comedy that those involved say emulates "Pulp Fiction." (In a nutshell, a missing wedding ring leads to a wild-goose chase involving meth addicts, skinheads and an Elvis impersonator.)
The project will be financed and produced by upstart film production company Mimran Schur, whose CEO and co-chairman Jordan Schur, the former Geffen Records president, discovered and signed Durst back in the late '90s to his then-Flip Records.
"Fred is taking a path that's actually very well-traveled," Schur says of Durst, who in addition to two features has directed a number of music videos. "If you look at Brett Ratner or Marc Webb, there are a lot of very successful film directors who learned how to do it by taking the limited canvas of two or three minutes and presenting a compelling narrative."
Durst, whose tour hit a small snag after his drummer was diagnosed with pneumonia, previously directed the female football film "The Longshots" and the college dramedy "The Education of Charlie Banks," which played the festival circuit and drew acclaim for Jesse Eisenberg's performance.
"Paranormal Activity" producer Steven Schneider also will produce "Pawn Shop." Durst was actually said to be talking to Schneider about directing "Paranormal Activity 2," but the two decided to collaborate on "Pawn Shop Chronicles" instead. The movie is set to go into production in early 2011.
"Pawn Shop" is not the only new film on which Mimran Schur is moving forward. In other exclusive news, the company, whose crime drama "Stone" hits theaters next, has just won the rights to a script called "Five Against the Bullet" from Alex Litvak. It's the first script that Litvak, who wrote the recent "Predators" as well as the upcoming Paul W.S. Anderson update of "The Three Musketeers," ever wrote.
The story is an action-thriller centering on a man in Mexico who, after his father is killed by a drug cartel, vows to run for office and clean up the streets despite the high degree of danger. He then must try to accomplish this task while staying one step ahead of the drug cartels pursuing him. Production is also set to start in the first half of 2011.
The high-profile Mexican drug-wars movie "Cartel," which was set to star Josh Brolin, was stopped a month before production by Universal in part because of safety concerns about filming on location in Mexico. Schur says "Five Against the Bullet" will shoot either in the U.S. or Puerto Rico because of those dangers.
Meanwhile, "Stone," the Edward Norton-Robert DeNiro cat-and-mouse thriller about an arsonist and a parole officer, has begun to receive reasonably favorable notice. Producers and distributor Overture are hoping for a chunk of the audience that has come out to see the similarly adult-oriented "The Town." "We wanted to keep the integrity of the story in both the movie and the marketing," Schur says. "You can make a character-driven crime thriller and pretend like it's any other action movie, but we wanted to stay true to the story."
-- Steven Zeitchik
Photos: Top: Fred Durst performing last year in Reading, England; credit: Simone Joyner / Getty Images. Bottom: Jordan Schur; credit: Mimran Schur.