Phoenix Pictures tunes up with 'Soundman'

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CANNES -- U.S.-based Phoenix Pictures will produce the thriller "The Soundman" and has tapped writer-director Wesley Strick to helm.

Strick, whose writing credits include "Cape Fear" and "Arachnophobia," also penned the screenplay.

"Soundman" centers on a white FBI agent who is saddled with the job of spying on Martin Luther King Jr. but struggles with a crisis of conscience and ultimately heads off an assassination attempt on the civil rights leader's life.

Phoenix's Mike Medavoy, Arnold Messer and Brad Fischer are producing the film, which is scheduled to begin shooting this fall in Chicago. Casting is under way.

"With such a promising project on our slate, we're comforted to have Wesley on board to direct," Medavoy said. "He is an incredibly gifted filmmaker, and we're excited to have his distinct vision for this film realized."

Phoenix also is producing the female-driven vehicle "Mile Zero." Medavoy, Messer and Fischer will produce the horror-thriller that stars James Vanderbilt ("Zodiac," "The Rundown"). Erik van Looy ("The Memory of a Killer") will direct from a screenplay penned by Holly Brix. Filming will start in late to begin 2007. Grosvenor Park is financing, and Voltage Pictures is handling the international rights at the Festival de Cannes.

The 12-year-old company, headed by Medavoy, has David Fincher's "Zodiac" screening In Competition at Cannes. Medavoy also is supporting the documentary "Brando," which is screening in the Cannes Classics section.

Upcoming Phoenix films include the comedy "License to Wed," starring Robin Williams, Mandy Moore and John Krasinski, which is being released by Warner Bros. Pictures; and the drama "Resurrecting the Champ," starring Samuel L. Jackson and Josh Hartnett, which is being released by the Yari Film Group.
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