Dimension nets Aja for 'Piranha'


Horrormeister Alexandre Aja has signed on to rewrite and direct "Piranha," Dimension Films' remake of the 1978 cult film. Aja also will produce with partner Gregory Levasseur, Mark Canton and IPW's Marc Toberoff.

The remake is set at Lake Havasu, Ariz., a scenic small town and spring break destination. When tremors tear open a crack in the lake floor, all hell breaks loose as ravenous piranhas surface and people begin to disappear.

Aja is rewriting the script that Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger did for the project, which at one point had Chuck Russell attached to direct.

"My goal is not to remake 'Piranha' but to create a completely new adventure paying homage to all the 'creatures' films that made me fall in love with the genre," Aja said. "It is the ultimate popcorn movie that pits beer-soaked, sunburned spring breakers against killer, bloodthirsty animals. I am very proud to follow the path of Joe Dante and James Cameron in the 'Piranha' franchise and look forward to working with Greg Levasseur, to write, produce and direct such a fun and gory thrill ride."

Said Dimension's Bob Weinstein: "We will maintain the fun and thrilling aspects of the original film but look forward to upping the ante with a modern-day twist."

Toberoff, along with IPW head of production J. Todd Harris, assembled the rights, developed a draft screenplay and brought it to Canton and Atmosphere MM. Dimension, which netted the redo in January 2006, attracted Aja to the project.

Alix Taylor, IPW's J. Todd Harris and Chako VanLeeuwen from Chako Film will serve as executive producers.

Richard Saperstein, president of production, Matthew Stein, senior vp production, and Steve Barnett, senior vp production and development, will oversee the project on behalf of Dimension.

Paris-born Aja carved a name for himself with the French horror movie "Haute tension" and followed that up with last year's "The Hills Have Eyes," the hit remake of the 1977 Wes Craven horror movie. He is repped by WMA and Adam Kaller of Behr, Abramson & Kaller.