Adam Sandler tries new genre

Launches label Scary Madison with thriller

NEW YORK -- Adam Sandler's production shingle Happy Madison is taking a turn down a new road.

The company known for comedies has signed on to produce a genre project, a thriller titled "Shortcut," as the inaugural picture of a nascent genre label it's calling Scary Madison.

The movie centers on two brothers who come upon a rarely used shortcut in their new town -- and soon discover the reasons why it's so rarely used. Andrew Seeley, Shannon Woodward and Dave Franco will star.

"Shortcut" will be financed by Ingo Volkhammer's hedge fund-backed Leomax Entertainment and co-produced by Leomax and Scary Madison. Volkhammer, Scary Madison's Scott Sandler and Brian Witten and Leomax's Scott Einbinder will produce; Adam Sandler and Scary Madison's Jack Giarraputo will serve as exec producers.

The Sandlers' shingle will rely on Happy Madison talent for various creative roles in "Shortcut" -- the script is co-written by Scott Sandler, while Nicholaus Goosen, who directed Happy Madison's intergenerational comedy "Grandma's Boy," will helm. Dan Hannon co-wrote the screenplay.

Indigomotion, the genre theatrical arm of Leomax, is planning to release "Shortcut" theatrically. Leomax does have a theatrical first-look deal with Overture, which could come aboard later to distribute the movie, as well as a TV first-look deal with Starz.

Production is scheduled to start next month in Sas¬katchewan, with a SAG waiver already granted. Endeavor helped package the project.

Leomax, a financier/producer based in Los Angeles and Berlin, has a number of movies in various stages of production; it recently completed production on the Mischa Barton thriller "Walled in" and the Jordan Ladd horror pic "Grace."

Happy Madison has had a litany of successful comedies with and without a toplining Sandler. Its "You Don't Mess With the Zohan" comes out from Columbia Friday.