Levine finds work after 'Wackness'


Jonathan Levine, whose coming-of-age dramedy "The Wackness" took home an audience award at the recent Los Angeles Film Festival, has set up two new projects.

The helmer will write and direct "Positive," a romantic thriller set on Martha's Vineyard that will be produced by "Wackness" producer Occupant Films. He's also penning "Echelon Vendetta," an espionage thriller based on David Stone's novel; the project has been set up at Sony.

"Positive" centers on a twenty-something who visits his fiancee's family only to be seduced by her sister. Occupant's Joe Neurauter, Felipe Marino and Keith Calder will produce the film, which is aiming for a mid-2009 start date.

"Vendetta" centers on a "cleaner," a CIA operative in charge of keeping dirty laundry from being aired in public, who after the death of a friend begins to investigate the deaths of several agents.

Levine, who is repped by UTA and manager Ragna Nervik, has concentrated on indie projects but said he'd like to strike a balance between studio and indie gigs. "I want to have a lot of the creative freedom that comes from (indie films), but I also don't want to be broke," he joked.

"Wackness," which Sony Pictures Classics opens this weekend, examines a teenager coming of age in New York circa 1994. The movie, which stars Ben Kingsley and Josh Peck, also scored the audience award this year at the Sundance Film Festival.

Levine and Occupant collaborated on the horror-comedy "All the Boys Love Mandy Lane," a breakout in Toronto two years ago that was one of several films the newly revamped Weinstein Co. snapped up but wound up selling.