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Lynch's Factory rides 'Straight' down film path

By Kirk Honeycutt
The Hollywood Reporter
Thursday, August 20, 1998

David Lynch's Picture Factory, the entertainment company recently established with writer-producer Mary Sweeney and producer Neal Edelstein, will launch production next month on its first film. "The Straight Story," which Lynch will direct in the Midwest, is based on a script by Sweeney and John Roach.

The film will be financed by Les Films Alain Sarde and Le Studio Canal Plus. Canal Plus' Pierre Edelman, who negotiated the deal with Sweeney, will exec produce. Edelstein and Sweeney will produce.

Meanwhile, Picture Factory has joined with Imagine Television in association with Touchstone Television to produce a two-hour ABC pilot titled "Mulholland Drive." The Los Angeles-based company is also developing a series of movie projects that put it in business with talent such as director Tim Hunter and novelist Stephen Marlowe.

"The Straight Story" chronicles a trip made by 73-year-old Alvin Straight from Laurens, Iowa, to Mt. Zion, Wis., in 1994 while riding a lawn mower. The man undertook his strange journey to mend his relationship with his ill, estranged, 75-year-old brother Lisle.

For "Mulholland Drive," Lynch will team with Joyce Eliason to write and produce; he will also direct. The two-hour drama will explore the desires and fears of two women beset by a mystery in Los Angeles.

Instrumental in the deal was Imagine Television co-chairman and CEO Tony Krantz. A veteran agent at CAA, Krantz recently joined Imagine's television division as an equal partner with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. The project marks a reunion with Lynch, whom he repped at CAA.

Additionally, Picture Factory has optioned several best-selling novels as film projects. The company will join with Marian Rees and Jonathan Sanger to produce a film version of Marlowe's "Lighthouse at the End of the World" (HR 6/26). Christopher DeVore is adapting a screenplay from "Lighthouse," which centers on the mysterious disappearance and return of Edgar Allan Poe.

"Amnesia Moon," a science fiction tale Lynch optioned last year, will be directed by Hunter with Lynch exec producing and Edelstein and Sweeney producing. Jonathan Lethem wrote the novel.

Joe Lansdale's "The Big Blow," the story of an interracial prize fight staged during a hurricane in southern Texas, is being developed for Lynch to exec produce and Edelstein and Sweeney to produce.

Lynch, whose credits include controversial and critically acclaimed films such as "Lost Highway," "Blue Velvet," "The Elephant Man" and "Eraserhead," recently inked with Endeavor Agency for representation.

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© Mike Hartmann