2 get stuck with Gregg on 'Choke'


Sam Rockwell and Anjelica Huston are starring in "Choke," an adaptation of a Chuck Palahniuk novel that marks the directorial debut of actor Clark Gregg, who also wrote the adaptation.

Contrafilm's Beau Flynn and Tripp Vinson are producing, along with ATO Pictures' Johnathan Dorfman and Temple Fennell.

Kelly Macdonald ("No Country for Old Men") and Brad Henke ("In the Valley of Elah") also star.

"Choke," published in 2001, was the first New York Times best-seller from Palahniuk, who penned "Fight Club."

"Choke" is a black comedy that follows Victor Mancini (Rockwell), a sex addict who works as a Colonial War re-enactor and runs a con scheme that involves deliberately choking in restaurants and attaching himself parasitically to his rescuers, all to fund his mother's (Huston) care at a private mental hospital.

He is forced to address his intimacy issues when he falls in love with his mother's doctor and discovers that he is unable to perform with the one woman he actually likes.

With credits in dozens of features and television series, Gregg is best known for his work in front of the camera, but he said he has been wanting to adapt the book for years.

"It's a tricky adaptation because like a lot of Chuck's work, it operates in a heightened satirical, dark world, yet this one is one of his black romantic comedies, so getting the tone right took me some time," Gregg said.

When he got the script working, he landed a key role on CBS' "The New Adventures of Old Christine" last year that caused the shoot to get pushed back. (He plays Julia Louis-Dreyfus' ex-husband.)

Principal photography begins this week in New Jersey.

ATO Pictures is financing the film in association with Aramid Capital. ATO recently produced the Sundance Film Festival hit "Joshua," also starring Rockwell and now in theaters.

Mike S. Ryan, Derrick Tseng and Gary Ventimiglia are executive producing. Contrafilm's Lisa Zambri will serve as associate producer.

Rockwell will next shoot "Frost/Nixon" for Working Title and next appears in the Warner Independent Pictures drama "Snow Angels," opposite Kate Beckinsale. He is repped by Gersh and Freedman Management.

Huston, repped by ICM, Michael Black and attorney David Nochimson, continues her relationship with director Wes Anderson with "The Darjeeling Limited."

Gregg is repped by UTA.