Writing duo sells 'Hell' script to Phoenix

Lee Shipman, Brian McGreevy based it on 'Monte Cristo'

Lee Shipman and Brian McGreevy have been giving their library cards a workout.

Their original script "Once Upon a Time in Hell," which landed on the Black List of most liked screenplays last year, has sold to Phoenix Pictures. Based on Alexandre Dumas' classic revenge tale "The Count of Monte Cristo," "Hell" updates the story to modern London's organized crime underworld.

Mike Medavoy, Arnold Messer and David Thwaites of Phoenix are producing along with Michael Connolly of Mad Hatter Entertainment, which reps the writers.

"We want to do a very slick, Hollywood-style underground gangster film," said Thwaites, pointing to Michael Mann's L.A.-set films "Heat" and "Collateral" as tonal inspiration for "Hell."

Shipman and McGreevy also have fashioned their adventure script "Pendragon," a pitch they sold to New Regency, from the raw material of Arthurian legend. Their spin involves providing the key Camelot characters -- Arthur, Lancelot, Guinevere, Galahad, et al. -- with origin stories, a la this summer's "Star Trek" reboot.

Connolly is attached to produce. Navid McIlhargey is shepherding for New Regency.

"The guys have dug into their lit backgrounds to come up with new stories for old material in order to sell 'original' material without securing the rights to a remake, a book, a graphic novel, etc.," Connolly said. "It really shows ingenuity and resourcefulness in today's market."

Shipman and McGreevy, repped by Paradigm, have a remake of "The Fury" in development at Fox 2000 and have written on "The Summoner" at Dark Castle/Warner Bros.
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