Maya tag-teams for Latino action thrills

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Death Ray Films, a production company formed recently by Kevin Munroe, Chris Patton and Robert Sanchez, is teaming with Maya Entertainment to bring Dark Horse comic "El Zombo Fantasma" to the big screen.

Munroe will write and direct the feature, with Patton and Sanchez producing. Dark Horse's Mike Richardson will executive produce.

The comic, published in 2005, tells the story of a murdered, temperamental Mexican wrestler who returns from his fiery damnation to play guardian angel to a troubled Los Angeles teenager. Zombo learns the teen is not what she seems and that their fates are intertwined. The character was created by David Wilkins and Munroe when they worked at a video game company. They will act as co-producers.

Death Ray and Maya hope to launch a franchise with the hero and plan on following up the feature with an animated series. "Zombo" has been described as a "Latino Hellboy," though the companies believe that with such elements as action, romance and redemption, it can pin down an audience beyond that demographic.

Jose Martinez of Maya and Kellvin Chavez, who runs the Web site Latino Review, also are producing "Zombo." Maya co-chairman Moctesuma Esparza exec produces. Maya is a film and TV production and distribution entity with a focus on Latino fare; "Zombo" marks its first genre project.

"It furthers our goal of bringing Latino themes and Latino talent to the commercial market," Martinez said. "We plan to blow this out in a big way."

Munroe ("TMNT"), who is prepping to direct "Dead of Night," is producing with Sanchez the indie horror movie "War Monkeys," which is based on a story by Patton. While putting together "Monkeys," the trio found they shared a love for all things geek and formed Death Ray. (partialdiff)
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