'Splice' director enters 'Tunnels' pic


Relativity Media has tapped Vincenzo Natali ("Cube") to helm "Tunnels," a family adventure that's seen as a potential franchise.

Natali's recent film, "Splice," premiered at Sundance.

"Tunnels" is based on the first installment of the children's series by first-time authors Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams. Relativity optioned the title in 2007.

The project is being produced by Ryan Kavanaugh, Mark Canton, Danny Davids and Neil Canton. Simon Sandquist and Joel Bergvall scripted the screenplay.

Relativity noted that "Tunnels" was published by Barry Cunningham of Chicken House/Scholastic Inc., who signed "Harry Potter" creator J.K. Rowling and has achieving sales of more than a million copies. The authors have completed two sequels -- "Deeper," published in 2008, and "Freefall," to be published in the United States in the spring.

"Tunnels" centers on a 14-year-old boy driven by a fascination of the buried past, who is drawn into a subterranean world after his archaeologist father abruptly goes missing. The hidden civilization is dominated by a sinister, vicious race called the Styx.

Natali is represented by CAA. Gordon and Williams are represented by Chicken House Entertainment and the Kohner Agency.