With director Martin "Taxi Driver" Scorsese's police thriller "The Departed" showing legs at the box office, Paramount has agreed to provide support to the auteur's numerous developing film projects, including a big screen adaptation of author Eric Jager's historical narrative "The Last Duel: A True Story of Crime, Scandal and Trial by Combat in Medieval France".
According to reports, the project is the first to be developed under the new four-year, first-look agreement the filmmaker signed with Paramount Pictures three weeks ago.
Premise of "Duel", published by Broadway Books in 2004, chronicles the true story of the last state-sanctioned fight, circa 1386 between Norman knight 'Jean de Carrouges' and a squire 'Jacques LeGris', who was accused of assaulting the knight's young wife.
"Duel" will be produced by Misher Films of "The Interpreter" fame.
Other Scorsese, Paramount film projects will include an untitled Rolling Stones concert doc that the studio plans to distribute in 2007; biopic "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt", starring actor Leonardo DiCaprio as 'Teddy Roosevelt' commanding the 'Rough Riders' cavalry during the 1898, Spanish-American War; and "Science", based on the book by author Shusaka Endo, focusing on the story of two Jesuit priests in 17th century feudal Japan, written by former film critic Jay "Goodfellas" Cocks;
Under the terms of Scorsese's Paramount deal, the director will earn $2.5 million annually to develop feature films, with the studio also getting first crack at cofinancing/coproducing any project Scorsese sets up at a rival studio.
Since its Oct. 6 opening, "The Departed" has grossed $113 million in North America.