Greece lightning

Warners wins bidding war for 'Odysseus' spec

Warner Bros. is going back to ancient Greece, winning a major spec-script bidding war to pick up "Odysseus," written by Ann Peacock, with Jonathan Liebesman attached to direct. Gianni Nunnari is producing via his Hollywood Gang Prods.

The story centers on legendary hero Odysseus, famed king of Ithaca, who returns to his island after 20 years of fighting the Trojan Wars to find his kingdom under the brutal occupation of an invading force. Odysseus single-handedly defeats every last man and takes back his wife, son and kingdom.

Warners clearly has an affinity for feta. The studio's 2006 release "300," also produced by Hollywood Gang, told the story of the Battle of Thermopylae. The studio also is about to being production on a remake of "Clash of the Titans," starring Sam Worthington, Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson, which tells tales based on ancient Greek myths.

Paramount was the other studio bidding, which brought some excitement to a moribund market hit by depressed quotes and quiet studios.

Craig Flores is exec producing "Odysseus."

Nunnari came up with the story and during a general meeting with Liebesman told him the idea. Liebesman leaped at it and brought in Peacock, who co-wrote the director's indie Sundance thriller "The Killing Room." She wrote the script on spec.

Nunnari, Liebesman and Peacock will get a "story by" credit.

The intent is to make not a sleepy swords-and-sandals epic but a bloody, relentless revenge movie, something akin to "300" meets "Taken."

"Warner Bros. is the perfect studio to bring Odysseus back to his island," Nunnari said.

Liebesman, repped by CAA and Principato Young Entertainment, is directing "Battle: Los Angeles" for Columbia. Aaron Echkart is attached to star. The plan is for Liebesman to direct "Odysseus" after "Battle."

Peacock is best known for writing "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." The scribe is repped by CAA and Principato Young.

Warners-based Hollywood Gang is working on "The Wild Geese," with Guy Ritchie attached to direct, as well as an adaptation of Frank Miller's "Ronin." It is in preproduction on Relativity's "War of the Gods," being directed by Tarsem Singh. (partialdiff)
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