Samaha Productions, the LA production outfit run by Elie's brother Demetri Samaha, has teamed with Marie Vine's London-based Vine International Pictures to co-finance Penelope Spheeris' Spam On Rye which will be distributed domestically by Warner Bros. Vine will handle international sales.

A dark comedy about an unambitious young man who unwittingly borrows a car filled with stolen cash, the $22m Spam On Rye is currently being cast by Samaha in Los Angeles dependent on an actors' strike. Samaha and Vine were bought together by Paula Paizes, producer on one of Vine's other pictures Where Eskimos Live.

Samaha and Vine are also teaming up for A Different Loyalty, a movie about the life of British spy Kim Philby to be directed by Roger Spottiswoode (Tomorrow Never Dies, The Sixth Day). Subject to Spottiswoode's approval of locations, the film will be a Russia/Morocco/UK co-production with Dino Dinev being lined up as Russian co-producer.

Written by Jim Piddock, the film focuses on Philby's love affair with his wife; Samaha and Vine are looking to shoot in Oct/Nov this year. Samaha's relationship with Vine replaces his association with his brother's Franchise Pictures, although Spam on Rye is being distributed through Warner Bros per Elie Samaha's output deal at the studio.