H20 puts 'Wild,' 'Gate' sequel on fast track

Thriller, horror sequel green-lighted

CANNES -- Andras Hamori's H20 Motion Pictures has green-lighted two new productions: the thriller "Running Wild," based on the novel by J.G. Ballard and starring Samuel L. Jackson, and "The Gate -- 20 Years Later," a sequel to the 1987 hit teen horror title.

Jackson will act as a co-producer on "Running Wild," a detective story about the investigation of a mysterious massacre at a wealthy gated community. Television and music video helmer Kevin Kerslake will direct in his feature film debut, from a script by David Leland ("Mona Lisa"). Shooting is set to begin this year in South Africa and at MMC Studios in Cologne, Germany.

Special effects wizard Randall William Cook, a three-time Oscar winner for his visual effects on "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, will make his directorial debut with "The Gate -- 20 Years Later." The original film starred Stephen Dorff and Louis Tripp as kids who accidentally open a gate to hell in their backyard, releasing deadly pint-sized demons.

MMC Studios is expected to back both projects as a co-financier through its production division MMC Independent.

MMC recently boarded Stephen Frears' 1920s period piece "Cheri," which Hamori is executive producing. The drama, starring Michelle Pfeiffer and produced by Bill Kenwright and Tracey Seaward, is currently shooting in France but will move to interiors at MMC in Cologne at the end of the month.