Minotaur: The antediluvian age horror project Minotaur has officially become one of the first British projects to self-resuscitate following the UK’s February 10th film financing massacre.
From a script by Steven McDool and Nick Green, and set to mark the directorial debut of Emile producer Jonathan English, the projected $7 million film was one of more than 30 in-the-works projects that collapsed in a single day after the U.K. government slammed shut a tax loophole.
The 1400 B.C. set film, is closely based on the classical Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. But, English says he intends to go for a darker, grittier Iron Age vision he believes is closer to historical reality, rather than the blue skies and white togas on display in other Ancient Greek movies of either Brad Pitt or Steve Reeves.
Every five years, a tribute of 10 youths (five boys and five girls) from a small village, are taken by soldiers to be sacrificed to the Minotaur, a sacred beast condemned to dwell in a labyrinth beneath the palace at Knossos. But this time, the victims, headed by Theseus, hatch a plan to fight back and kill the Minotaur, putting a violent end the persecution of their tribe. The second half of the movie will actually take place in the labyrinth as the youths and the monster hunt one another.
"I have always pitched it as a prehistoric 'ALIEN,'" English has said, "It's a teen horror movie set in the 14th century B.C." The Minotaur itself will be created partly by animatronics and partly by digital f/x, and will differ considerably from the half-man, half-bull of traditional myths.
Casting is currently underway for the lead Theseus, with American actor Tony Todd ("Candyman") having already been confirmed as the king of Knossos, additionally "Children of Dune's" Steven Berkoff has signed on to play the headman of the beleaguered village.
The project was originally due to receive equity “coin” from Grosvenor Park's First Choice fund; one of the financing venues shut down on Feb. 10. But, which has now been replaced with gap finance from the Bank of Ireland, supported by a foreign sales deal with First Look.
The other original components are still in place -- a North American pre-sale to Lions Gate, a French co-production with Telema/TF1, a German co-production with Babelsberg, plus an equity investment from U.S. f/x house E=Mc2 Digital, slated to shoulder the monster creation chores of the production.
"I think it was the fact that we had real commercial deals in place that enabled us to bring in the Bank of Ireland to replace the tax money," English said. "I know a lot of other producers have had problems with refinancing, because they just can't get the pre-sales."