By : Dennis Chua
(From left) Tan, Ning, Aznil, Nasir, Norman, Edry, Zainir, Yusry, Maya, Diana and Harun at Kuala Lumpur Tower. — Picture by RAMZAN MASIAM.
THE brothers from Gopeng behind the success of Cicak Man will have their first Hollywood production Deadline in cinemas at the year’s end.
The horror flick by Norman, Yusry and Edry Abdul Halim, otherwise known as KRU, stars Brittany Murphy (Don’t Say A Word) and Thora Birch (American Beauty). It is produced by KRU Studios and Enso Entertainment of the United States, and directed by Sean McConville.
Filmed in Louisiana, last year, its sound and visual effects were engineered in Kuala Lumpur.
Deadline will be distributed in eight West Asian countries, Brazil, South Africa and Malaysia by Epic Pictures.
Norman, who is KRU Studios chief executive officer, hopes that a fully-Malaysian English language movie with an international cast will be a reality soon.
“Come next year, we’ll be moving into our new nine-hectare studio in Cyberjaya. It will be ready by Christmas,” he said.
“Our first project there will be an epic English movie tentatively called The Merong Mahawangsa Chronicles.”
The movie, based on legendary tales of ancient Kedah, Kelantan and Johor, will be directed by Yusry and employ kung-fu exponents and stuntmen from Hong Kong.
“Next year will also see the release of Magika, a science-fiction and fantasy film with a star-studded cast,” he said.
The film, expected to be screened in the first quarter of 2010, is a fun-filled, colourful and educational adventure that revolves around Malaysian legends.
Directed by Edry, it stars Diana Danielle, M. Nasir, Mawi, Ziana Zain, Sharifah Aleya and Sharifah Amani, among others.
Taking a cue from ABBA tribute musical Mamma Mia!, the film revolves around 14 KRU hit songs.
The company will also be distributing American animated films Sunshine Barry and the Disco Worms and Planet 51 in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei this year.
Planet 51 features the voiceover talents of Hollywood stars The Rock and Jessica Biel.
KRU Studios’ films this year are comedy-fantasy Jin Notti, starring Fara Fauzana and Mawi; and action-comedy My Spy, starring AC Mizal, Harun Salim Bachik and Hannah Tan.
They are directed by Azhari Mohd Zain and Afdlin Shauki respectively.
KRU Studios is now a smart partner of satellite television station Astro, and the TV giant has a three-year deal to screen all of the company’s films.
“Astro subscribers in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia and Vietnam can now get to see KRU films via the Astro Box Office service,” Norman said.
“We are happy with the tie-up. It’s a recognition of our hard work and a tribute to our talented actors and directors.”
Astro Entertainment executive director Zainir Aminullah said the deal with KRU marked the station’s first agreement with a local film company.
“We always look for high-quality films and local ones that meet our criteria are top priority. KRU Studios believes in pushing the boundaries of film-making, and we look forward to working with the company,” he said.
According to Norman, KRU regularly “shopped” at international film markets to pick credible films worthy of local viewing.
“Ultimately, we want to work with leading American, Hong Kong, Chinese, Indian and Indonesian names in the film industry to produce films worthy of international awards,” he said.
KRU and Zainir announced their companies’ tie-up in a ceremony at the Kuala Lumpur Tower last week. They were joined by actors Tan, Ning Baizura, Aznil Nawawi, Nasir, Maya Karin, Diana and Harun.