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Screentalk: Comic couple earn their stripes


Two assistants have sold an action comedy they wrote between arranging lunch bookings for their bosses.

Sony has picked up El Tigre, written by first-time writers Aaron Buchsbaum and Teddy Riley, who assisted director Shawn Levy. The project details a troubled family vacation after the father is mistaken for a drug lord.

Crime pays on Shakman's debut

Matt Shakman, who has Mad Men (featuring Christina Hendricks) and Six Feet Under on his résumé, will make his feature debut with Cut Bank, billed as a visceral crime thriller. Armie Hammer, Ben Kingsley and John Malkovich star in the story of a young car mechanic looking for a way out of small-town Montana.

Along comes another Spider

Sony is already developing a sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man movie, which opens on 3 July. Star Trek and Transformers writing team Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are working on the screenplay for The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The upcoming release is directed by Marc Webb and stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone.

Avatar's still the stuff of fantasy

James Cameron, whose film Avatar became China's all-time box-office champ in 2010 taking $58 million in its first weekend, is talking to the Chinese authorities about the potential to set up Avatar 2 and 3 as co-productions. Cameron thinks by the time the sequels come out, China could be the same size market as the United States.

Action man goes back into battle

Owen Wilson has signed on for his first action film since 2001's Behind Enemy Lines. Wilson will star in action thriller The Coup, that John Erick Dowdle will direct. The story centres on an American family who move to Southeast Asia and finds themselves embroiled in a violent coup .

Sheen's dramatic entrance

Michael Sheen has signed for a turn alongside Tina Fey and Paul Rudd in Admission, a comedy directed by Paul Weitz. Karen Croner wrote the script about an unmarried college admissions counsellor (Fey) who strikes up a romance with a man (Rudd) she knew when she was in school. Sheen will play Fey's stiff British boyfriend.