Sonke Wortmann, German director of Der Bewegte Mann, will make his US production debut with The Hollywood Sign which also marks the first US picture to be produced and financed by Dutch production outfit Pleswin Entertainment Group, a partnership between Eric Pleskow and Leon De Winter.
Burt Reynolds, Rod Steiger and Tom Berenger star in the film which is scripted by de Winter who will also produce. Pleskow will act as executive producer.
Pleswin is fully financing the film in association with Senator Films, the German producer/distributor which retains German rights. Amberlon Entertainment, a joint venture between Pleswin and Senator, is handling worldwide sales.
Jeff Geoffray and Walter Josten are co-producing the film through Blue Rider Pictures.
Set to start shooting on March 15 on location in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, The Hollywood Sign is a comedy about three washed up actors who set up a scam to raise money for their comeback movie.
Pleskow, co-founder of Orion Pictures and former United Artists president and CEO, and novelist/film-maker De Winter joined forces with Senator to found Pleswin last summer. Senator agreed to guarantee a minimum of 30% of the total budgets of the company's films, while Pleskow and De Winter tapped into a lucrative new Dutch tax incentive scheme which allows private investors to invest in English-language pictures according to certain criteria.
Later last year, Pleswin and Senator launched Amberlon as a London-based sales and production company to handle sales of the films in non-German territories.
Wortmann's Der Bewegte Mann was the biggest hit in Germany in 1995, grossing nearly $50m at the local box office and launching the career of actor Til Schweiger. It was released in the US under the title Maybe, Maybe Not. The Hollywood Sign is Wortmann's second English-language production following 1993's Mr Bluesman, starring Lloyd Bridges.
Reynolds was represented by ICM's Andrea Eastman and Carter Cohn, and his manager, Alan Margulies of A/M Productions. Steiger by Darryl Marshak and Harry Gold of Gold, Marshak, Liedtke and Berenger by CAA.