Catch 23 To Develop <b><i>Blackjack</i></b> -

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Catch 23 To Develop Blackjack

By Rob M. Worley     February 15, 2002

Yesterday Catch23 Entertainment Inc. announced the acquisition of the film rights to writerAlex Simmons' acclaimed graphic novel series Blackjack from ScottMitchell Rosenberg's Platinum Studios, and has entered into a co-productionagreement with Platinum for the development of a feature film based on thematerial.

Blackjackis the first acquisition for C23's new urban entertainment division headed bySenior Vice President Darryl Taja, recently christened Catch 23's Alter EgoEntertainment. Michael Jai White (Spawn, John Woo's upcoming HonorAmong Thieves) is in preliminary negotiations to star. The announcementswas made yesterday by Jeremy Barber, President of Catch 23 Entertainment.

"Blackjackrepresents the exact kind of crossover material I hoped to develop at Catch 23'sAlter Ego," said Taja.

Alex Simmons'comic book series Blackjack, which debuted in 1996, follows theexploits of independent African-American soldier of fortune Arron Day -- a mancalled "Blackjack" -- as he roams the globe in search of a life ofadventure and danger, from mysterious lost treasures to the schemes of power-maddictators in a world on the brink of war. Blackjack is thrust into the middle ofpolitical warfare in China in order to protect the life of an important Chinesedignitary and lives in a milieu of looming world hostilities, culturalrenaissance, and brutal assassins.

Marc Danon,Catch 23's Vice President of Production and Acquisitions, who brought Blackjackto Taja's attention, will develop the project with Taja.

Catch 23's AlterEgo Entertainment is aggressively ramping up its development slate, under thedirection of Darryl Taja, Senior Vice President of Catch 23 Management, whocontinues to operate in a dual role as both talent manager and productionexecutive. C23's Alter Ego will focus primarily on developing projects for theurban-crossover market, but will seek out a wide variety of genre-specificmaterial.

In addition to Blackjack,Taja and Danon are currently developing the family-comedy Mr. Momma,described as an African-American Mr. Mom, with screenwriters Joe Forristal andDirk Wittenborn. In addition to his responsibilities with C23's Alter Ego,Darryl Taja is also producing the action-comedy Indiana Jacksonfor Disney, and recently produced the urban-comedy Higher Ed, tobe released by the Urban World label of Columbia at Sony, and the comedy GoFor Broke, to be distributed through New Line this year.

"I am verypleased with the aggressive growth of our new label under Taja's direction and Iam gratified by Taja and Danon's collaboration," said Barber.


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