EXCLUSIVE: Longtime Phoenix Pictures co-president Bradley J. Fischer has formed Mythology Entertainment in partnership with screenwriter/producers Laeta Kalogridis and James Vanderbilt. With backing from private investors, Mythology will develop and package projects internally before taking them to studios and financiers. The scope is film, TV and digital, and the slate will include projects scripted by Kalogridis and Vanderbilt. Mythology starts the venture with an Antoine Fuqua-directed Showtime documentary on Death Row Records mogul Suge Knight, and a feature rights deal to late author John Bellairs’ Lewis Barnavelt series of gothic horror novels for kids. Supernatural creator Eric Kripke has been hired to write the script and produce.
First published in 1973, the book series has spanned 12 volumes, with illustrations from artist Edward Gorey. The books began with The House with a Clock in its Walls, which introduced the orphaned protagonist Lewis as he moves into his uncle’s spooky old Victorian mansion. Strange noises lead the lad to find secret passageways, hidden rooms and the unsettling discovery his peculiar uncle is a warlock. The boy finds his spell book and unwittingly resurrects an evil wizard who sets in motion a chain of supernatural events tied to an ancient secret hidden within the mansion’s walls. After Bellairs died, the series was continued by Brad Strickland.
“Jamie, Laeta and I are thrilled to launch Mythology Entertainment and to be partnering with Eric Kripke and the estate of John Bellairs for our first feature project,” Fischer said. “As a kid, Eric was inspired by Bellairs’ work and these books have stayed with him through the years…As a company, we aspire to be a haven for artists and friends who believe in the power of myth and remember that feeling we all got as kids, when the lights went down and the images came up and anything was possible.”
Fischer spent 13 years at Mike Medavoy’s Phoenix before Medavoy announced he was winding down the company. Fischer has producing credits on films ranging from David Fincher’s Zodiac to Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island and Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan. He continues to be attached as producer of such Phoenix-generated projects as Last Voyage of the Demeter; an adaptation of Robert Heinlein’s The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag, which has Alex Proyas attached to direct; and Water & Power with Frank Darabont attached.
Fischer developed relationships with both Kalogridis and Vanderbilt through some of those films. He worked with Kalogridis on Shutter Island, which she adapted from the Dennis Lehane novel and also exec produced. She has separately worked with James Cameron on Avatar and scripted Ghost in the Shell for Steven Spielberg. Vanderbilt, who scripted the Marc Webb-directed The Amazing Spider-Man and is working on the sequel for Sony, worked with Fischer when he scripted Zodiac and produced it. Vanderbilt is separately adapting the British miniseries Red Riding for producer Steve Zaillian and director Ridley Scott.
Kripke’s repped by WME and Principato-Young and the Bellairs estate was repped by The Gotham Group. Mythology is being repped by WME for television.