Scotts beat for 'Tell-Tale'

Modern-day take on Poe chiller

Ridley and Tony Scott's Scott Free Prods. is going back to its genre roots with "Tell-Tale," a modern-day reimagining of the Edgar Allan Poe classic "The Tell-Tale Heart" from director Michael Cuesta and screenwriter Dave Callaham.

" 'Tell-Tale' is a psychological thriller that sets Poe's haunting tale against the backdrop of modern science," Scott Free president Michael Costigan said.

Scott Free is the company behind "American Gangster," which bows Friday. The Scott brothers made their early name with "Alien" and "The Hunger."

The Poe-inspired film will be produced by Ridley Scott, Tony Scott and Costigan as well as Social Capital's Christopher Tuffin and Martin Shore. Shore is a Santa Monica-based equity firm that was brought to Scott Free by indie film broker the Gordon Steel Co. Shore made his money in the real estate business, while Tuffin is a producer.

The film is budgeted at $20 million and will be shot in early 2008. Casting is under way.

Gordon Steel and partner John Baca suggested that the tone of the film likely will be a cross between "Jacob's Ladder" and "Marathon Man."

"Ridley and Tony are great storytellers. We feel that 'Tell-Tale' will differentiate itself from other genre fare in its sophistication, quality and commerciality," said Lisa Wilson, president of worldwide sales for Ashok Amritraj's Hyde Park, which will be preselling the film abroad, beginning today at AFM. "It is a thrilling blend of the supernatural and psychological mixed with riveting suspense and action."

The companies involved hope to produce additional genre fare together. This first film is being largely financed by Tuffin and Moore's Social Capital Films, and was negotiated by Scott Free's Malcolm Reeve, along with Steel and Baca, all of whom will serve as executive producers on the picture.

Cuesta's helming credits include "Twelve and Holding" as well as episodes of Showtime's "Dexter" and HBO's "Six Feet Under." Callaham penned the 2005 feature "Doom."