Nick Cassavetes to Direct Iron Man

New Line Cinema and Marvel Studios have signed Nick Cassavetes (THE NOTEBOOK, JOHN Q) to direct the highly-anticipated big screen adaptation of IRON MAN. The film is scheduled to be a 2006 tentpole release. The project, which is being produced by Marvel Studios' ceo Avi Arad and Angry Films' Don Murphy, is based on a script by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, and David Hayter. The studios will begin casting immediately.

"This is an ideal situation because Nick is a tremendous talent with a passion for the material, and we have had such incredible success working with both him and Marvel in the past," said New Line production president Toby Emmerich. "Teaming up again to launch a franchise as promising as IRON MAN is very exciting."

Arad added, "Being able to work with such an acclaimed writer/director as Nick Cassavetes to bring one of our pre-eminent superhero franchises to the big screen is really special. Nick grew up reading IRON MAN and personally loves the character. He shares our vision of how to bring IRON MAN to life in a way that will appeal to a mass audience as well as the core superhero fan base. This deal with Nick marks the perfect way to launch our second big Marvel franchise with New Line, a studio that we have enjoyed a great relationship with in building the BLADE character into a Hollywood heavyweight."

Based on the long-running Marvel comic book series, IRON MAN tells the story of Tony Stark, the enigmatic heir to the Stark Enterprises fortune. A driven inventor and executive who seems to have it all, Tony is haunted by his dark side. Though he commands his empire by day, by night he secretly becomes Iron Man, the living embodiment of decades of defense spending and innovation. Strapping on billions of dollars worth of state-of-the-art armor and weaponry each night to fight crime, terrorism and corporate espionage, Tony begins to crack under the strain of his fractured lifestyle and must ultimately confront the one enemy he can never beat -- himself.

Emmerich is overseeing the film for New Line along with the studio's svp production Stokely Chaffin, vp George Waud and creative exec Jeff Katz. Spearheading the production for Marvel Studios are Kevin Feige and Ari Arad.

New Line Cinema (www.newline.com) is the oldest and most successful independent film company in the world. In addition to the production, marketing and distribution of theatrical motion pictures, the fully-integrated studio has divisions devoted to home entertainment, television, music, theater, licensing, merchandising and international marketing and distribution. Together with its subsidiary, Fine Line Features, New Line is a unit of Time Warner.

With a library of more than 5,000 proprietary characters, Marvel Enterprises Inc. (www.marvel.com) is one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies. Marvel's operations are focused in four areas: entertainment (Marvel Studios), licensing, publishing and toys (Toy Biz). Marvel facilitates the creation of entertainment projects, including feature films, DVD/home video, videogames and television based on its characters and also licenses its characters for use in a wide range of consumer products and services including apparel, toys, collectibles, snack foods and promotions.

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