The increasingly prolific Franchise Pictures has teamed up with Jersey Films to co-produce and co-finance Caveman's Valentine, a psychological thriller starring Samuel L. Jackson which started shooting in Los Angeles this week.

Universal Pictures has all rights to the film in North America, and Franchise will be selling it at next week's American Film Market (AFM).

The movie marks the first picture from director Kasi Lemmons since her acclaimed Southern Gothic melodrama Eve's Bayou, also starring Jackson, which grossed $14.8m through Trimark Pictures in 1997.

Producers on the film are Danny DeVito, Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher, the three principals of Jersey, Elie Samaha and Andrew Stevens, the two principals of Franchise, and renowned screenwriter Scott Frank who brought the project to Jersey.

Caveman's Valentine was originally a production of Jersey's specialised division Jersey Shore which set it up at October Films under a two-picture deal in 1998. Jersey Films has a deal for bigger projects with Universal which runs until 2001.

Stevens said that the relationship with Jersey on the film arose from DeVito starring in Franchise picture The Big Kahuna last year. Franchise also has a strong separate relationship with Universal outside its close working ties with Warner Bros.

In the movie, scripted by George Dawes Green from his own novel, Jackson plays a homeless man who lives in a cave in Central Park who discovers the body of a murdered boy the morning after he has had a vision of the same boy as an angel. Franchise creative executive Tracee Stanley described the movie as 'a psychological and supernatural thriller.'

Co-starring with Jackson are Damir Andrei, Aunjanue Ellis, Tamara Tunie (another Eve's Bayou alumnus), Peter MacNeill, Jay Rodman, Rodney Eastman and Anthony Michael Hall.

Executive producers on the film are Jackson himself, Eli Selden and Julie Silverman Yorn who manage the actor at Artists Management Group (AMG) and Canadian producer Nicholas Clermont. Co-executive producers are Stephanie Davis and Jonathan Weisgal, the former head of Jersey Shore.

Jackson was a producer on Eve's Bayou, with Selden and Silverman Yorn acting as executive producers.