Mandate buys Carnahan crime drama

Scribe will make his directing debut on the project

Matthew Michael Carnahan is moving from the political to the personal.

Lionsgate-owned Mandate Pictures has purchased Carnahan's latest spec script -- the engagingly titled "Untitled Matt Carnahan Crime Project" -- for Tracy Falco to produce. The sale price is mid- against high six figures.

Carnahan will make his directing debut on the project. Mandate president Nathan Kahane and Lionsgate motion picture group president Joe Drake will serve as executive producers, with Mandate vp production Tendo Nagenda set to co-produce.

Recent releases produced from Carnahan's scripts include November's Afghanistan war drama "Lions for Lambs" and September's Middle East action film "The Kingdom." He also wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of the political mini¬series "State of Play," which Working Title recently moved into postproduction at Universal.

Carnahan's Mandate project involves a modern-day crime story that tracks the fates of a trio of childhood friends from Chicago's South Side.

Mandate's recent slate has covered a range of genres. Its 2007 family fantasy "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium" proved less than magical, but the stoner comedy "Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay" is playing decently, and last year's sleeper hit "Juno" raised the shingle's production profile considerably.

Carnahan is repped by Chris Donnelly at Endeavor and attorney Stuart Rosenthal. Falco was repped in the deal by attorney Craig Jacobson, and Dan Freedman negotiated for Mandate.

Separately, the increasingly acquisitive Mandate said Monday that it also has picked up 24-year-old playwright Brian Tucker's first screenplay, "Broken City." The contemporary noir follows a New York private eye who gets sucked into a shady mayoral election.
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