July 1, 2008 / 6:33 AM / 10 years ago

"Wackness" director lines up a pair of thrillers

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Jonathan Levine, whose upcoming comedy-drama “The Wackness” features an infamous kiss between Ben Kingsley and Mary-Kate Olsen, has set up two new projects.

Cast member Ben Kingsley (R) and director Jonathan Levine of the movie "The Wackness" pose during the 2008 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah January 19, 2008. Levine, whose upcoming comedy-drama "The Wackness" features an infamous kiss between Ben Kingsley and Mary-Kate Olsen, has set up two new projects. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

He will write and direct “Positive,” a romantic thriller set on Martha’s Vineyard. He’s also penning the screenplay for “Echelon Vendetta,” an espionage thriller based on David Stone’s novel; the project has been set up at Sony.

“Positive” centers on a twentysomething who takes a trip to visit his fiancee’s family off the coast of Massachusetts only to be seduced by her younger sister. The indie film is aiming for a mid-2009 start date.

“Vendetta” centers on a “cleaner,” a CIA operative in charge of keeping dirty laundry from being aired in public, who after the death of a friend begins to investigate the mysterious deaths of several agents.

Levine has concentrated on indie projects, but said he’d like to strike a balance between studio and indie gigs. “I want to have a lot of the creative freedom that comes from (indie films), but I also don’t want to be broke,” he joked.

“Wackness,” which Sony Pictures Classics opens this weekend, examines a teenager coming of age in New York circa 1994. It scored audience awards at the Sundance Film Festival in January, and at the recent Los Angeles Film Festival.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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