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EXCLUSIVE: Mark Wahlberg Producing Feature Film Version of 'The Raven'

Mark Wahlberg and Steve Levinson
Getty Images

After over eight months of on-and-off-again negotiations, Universal has acquired the rights to Ricardo De Montreuil's short film The Raven.

Mark Wahlberg is producing the feature-length project alongside partner Steve Levinson in what is being developed as a starring vehicle for the actor, currently riding high on the buzz generated by The Fighter.

Justin Marks will write the script.

Raven was part of the short film wave that hit Hollywood in the late winter and early spring when many up-and-coming filmmakers, with studio aspirations, released their own mini-movies in the hopes of catching a ride on the Hollywood comet.

A deal was almost reached in the summer but fell apart due to a progress-to-production term. In the fall, the moving pieces began to coalesce anew and a deal was closed.

Raven focused on a young man with powers being chased around downtown Los Angeles by robotic police drones, while a giant police ship coordinates the effort from the skies above.

Nick Osborne, Trevor Engelson and Oly Obst of Underground Films will executive produce.

Universal’s Raven is not to be confused with FilmNation and Intrepid Pictures’ project with the same title. The latter is an adaptation of the Edgar Allan Poe poem and stars John CusackLuke Evans and Alice Eve.

While it may have taken a long time to iron out a deal for the Raven, the short did have its desired effect of opening doors, including those at Universal. De Montreuil, who hails from Peru, recently closed a deal to helm Lowriders for the studio, a coming-of-age drama being produced by Imagine.

De Montreuil is repped by CAA and Underground. Marks, who has worked on projects featuring superheros Green Arrow and the Suicide Squad for Warners, is repped by CAA and Madhouse Entertainment.

Wahlberg is repped by WME.