'Deadline' financed in Malaysia

KRU Studios backs first Hollywood film

NEW YORK -- Malaysia's KRU Studios will finance the psychological thriller "Deadline" from British writer and debut director Sean McConville, Los Angeles-based producer Roger Betterton said Thursday.

Thora Birch and Tammy Blanchard co-star in the Hitchcockian feature in which Brittany Murphy plays a screenwriter in an abandoned house suffering from writer's block -- and unforeseen events -- that lead to a breakdown.

KRU, a 15-year-old film, TV and music production and distribution company based in Kuala Lumpur, also will handle postproduction and visual effects on "Deadline," said Betterton, CEO of Enso Entertainment.

KRU CEO Norman Abdul Halim met Betterton at AFI, where they began to put together the deal for the film now shooting in Louisiana and on track to finish June 30.

Aiming for a mid-2009 release, "Deadline" is KRU's first involvement in an English-language feature.

KRU will handle the film's Asia distribution and Enso will handle North American rights. Betterton said the companies will cooperate on sales to Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Betterton said he is not worried about censors in mostly-Muslim Malaysia blocking the film, which will not include blood or vulgarity. "This is a PG-13 film," he said.

KRU said the crew of Hollywood veterans will produce a film in line with its plans to increase its visibility outside Asia. The principals include director of photography Ross Richardson and production designer and art director Steve Arnold ("Spider-Man").

KRU's latest movie, "Duyung," is the highest-grossing film in Malaysia in the first half of the year.