From Gotham City to Jerusalem for Roven


The producer of "The Dark Knight" is on the road to Damascus.

Charles Roven, the producer behind the summer blockbuster, and frequent collaborator Richard Suckle are developing "Damascus Gate," a political thriller involving a journalist and a group of extremists in modern Jerusalem. The project has been set up at Columbia.

Roven will produce via his Atlas Entertainment banner; Eric Warren Singer will pen the screenplay and exec produce.

Based on Robert Stone's 1998 novel, which Sony has acquired, "Gate" is set in a world in which a groundbreaking accord between Palestinians and Israelis is nearly complete when a burned-out journalist comes upon an extremist plot to sabotage the effort. The title is a reference to a landmark gate in Jerusalem's Old City.

Stone's book is a character exploration as well as a thriller, and producers said the project will encompass the dual elements.

"It's definitely going to have shadings of both," Roven said. "Anything Eric writes will have its share of complex characters."

Singer wrote "The International," the Atlas-produced thriller starring Clive Owen. The Tom Tykwer film, which opens the Berlin International Film Festival on Thursday ahead of its Columbia release next week, is the first film in a deal between Atlas and Sony.

Roven also has the Nicolas Cage starrer "Season of the Witch" set up at Relativity and the sci-fi thriller "Robotech" at Warner Bros., with Suckle and Roven teaming on Pan Am Flight 103 drama "The Boy Who Fell Out of the Sky" and the work-themed comedy "Early Retirement," among other projects. (partialdiff)