IFC takes on 'Lennon' bio, 2 comedies


NEW YORK -- The provocative British docudrama "The Killing of John Lennon" as well as a pair of U.S. comedies, Michael Lehmann's "Flakes" and Abel Ferrara's "Go Go Tales," are being picked up for North American distribution by IFC Entertainment.

Andrew Piddington's "Len¬non," a re-enactment of the days surrounding Mark David Chapman's shooting of John Lennon, is on track to beat another Chapman biopic to the screen: Jarrett Schaefer's "Chapter 27," starring Jared Leto, Judah Friedlander and Lindsay Lohan. "Lennon" is set for a theatrical and VOD release Jan. 8 from IFC First Take, while "Chapter 27" will hit U.S. theaters in March from Peace Arch Releasing.

For some, the two Lennon assassination films are two too many. "Chapter 27" drew outrage from Beatles fans and mixed reviews when it premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival. After being shopped to indie distributors, producer Peace Arch Entertainment decided to release it through its newly launched distribution arm.

Piddington's film, due for a U.K. release next month on the eve of the anniversary of Lennon's 1980 murder, has drawn some similar criticism but much less notice because of its smaller budget and lack of any name stars. The protest Web site BoycottChapter27.org, which went online around the time that film was announced in spring 2006, has barely mentioned the U.K. film. "Lennon" had its North American premiere at this year's Tribeca Film Festival and was awarded a special jury prize.

IFC is taking a safer road with Lehmann's "Flakes," a comedy about a New Orleans cereal bar owner (Aaron Stanford) whose business concept is ripped off by a corporate executive. Zooey Deschanel co-stars as an avant garde clothing designer.

IFC also is in negotiations for North American rights to writer-director Ferrara's screwball comedy "Tales," which stars Willem Dafoe and Matthew Modine as a pair of sibling New York strip club owners whose joint is threatened. Bob Hoskins and Asia Argento co-star in the film, a selection at the Festival de Cannes and New York Film Festival. An IFC spokesperson said there was no deal done on "Tales."