Snyder, WB in clinch for 'Punch'

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A month after unfurling his Cruel and Unusual Films banner at Warner Bros. Pictures, "300" filmmaker Zack Snyder has set up his first project, an action fantasy titled "Sucker Punch."

Snyder, who is eyeing the project as a directing vehicle, will produce with partner and wife Deborah Snyder. He will co-write the script with Steve Shibuya, adapting it from his own original short story.

Set in the 1950's, "Punch" follows a girl who is confined to a mental institution by her evil stepfather, who intends to have her lobotomized in five days. While there, she imagines an alternative reality to hide her from the pain, and in that world, she begins planning her escape, needing to steal five objects to help get her out before she is deflowered by a vile man.

"A while ago I had written a script for myself and there was a sequence in it that made me think, 'How can I make a film that can have action sequences in it that aren't limited by the physical realities that normal people are limited by, but still have the story make sense so it's not, and I don't mean to be mean, like a bullshit thing like "Ultraviolet" or something like that?' " Snyder said. "And also, I was really inspired by the worlds of movies like 'Moulin Rouge,' which is modern but at the same time timeless."

Snyder described the world as "an 'Alice in Wonderland' with machine guns," blending such elements as dragons, B-52 bombers and brothels. Music will play a key role.

"In the end, it's about this girl's survival and what she needs to do to be able to cope," Deborah Snyder said.

"Punch" is intended to be visually arresting, just like "300," which has been garnering much buzz over its unique look prior to its March 9 release. Snyder directed and co-wrote the movie, an adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel, which has its Los Angeles premiere tonight.

Snyder is in pre-production on "Watchmen," the adaptation of the Alan Moore-Dave Gibbons comic book miniseries. "Watchmen" is eyeing a late summer start. Zack and Deborah Snyder are repped by CAA and attorney Warren Dern.

Cruel and Unusual's Wesley Coller will executive produce "Punch." Greg Silverman is overseeing for the studio.
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