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Thomas Lennon to Star in ‘Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety logo Variety 3/25/2017 Dave McNary
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Thomas Lennon and Udo Kier will star in “Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich,” a new take on the durable horror franchise.

The Cinestate production begins principal photography in Dallas next week. Jenny Pellicer, Nelson Franklin,  Charlyne Yi, Alex Beh, Barbara Crampton, Tina Parker, Skeeta Jenkins and Michael Pare are also starring.

Sonny Laguna and Tommy Wiklund (“Wither”) will direct from a script written by “Bone Tomahawk” screenwriter S. Craig Zahler. Dallas Sonnier and Amanda Presmyk are producing for Cinestate, along with Jack Heller of Assemble Media. “Transformers” producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian of Di Bonaventura Pictures are also producers on the project along with frequent Laguna & Wiklund partner David Liljeblad.

Charles Band (the original franchise producer) is executive producing, as are Wayne Godfrey and Robert Jones of The Fyzz Facility, Jonathan Feuer of Flexibon Films, Red Sanders of Red Productions, Will Evans of Cinestate, Adam Donaghey, Johnathan Brownlee and Rick Prince. Frequent Laguna & Wiklund partner David Liljeblad is also producing.

“Puppet Master,” released in 1989, was written by Band and Kenneth J. Hall, and directed by David Schmoeller. It stars Paul Le Mat, Irene Miracle, Matt Roe and Kathryn O’Reilly as psychics using deadly puppets — Blade, Jester, Pinhead, Tunneler, Leech Woman, Shredder Khan and Gengie — animated by an Egyptian spell and created by  puppeteer Andre Toulon. “Puppet Master” was released direct-to-video and developed a following that led to nine sequels.

“Puppet Master: The Little Reich” centers on a recently divorced young man discovers a mint condition Blade doll in his deceased brother’s closet and plans to sell the toy at a convention in Texas celebrating the 30th anniversary of the infamous Toulon Murders. All hell breaks loose at during the auction when a strange force animates all of the various puppets throughout the convention as they go on a bloody killing spree.

Producers assert that the new will include the puppet mayhem mixed with comedy while expanding upon Toulon’s backstory. Kier will portray Toulon. Zahler sought out Laguna and Wiklund to direct due to his interest in their previous micro-budget horror films.

Lennon has extensive credits as an actor and writer and is best known for his work on MTV’s “The State,”  Comedy Central’s “Reno 911!” and CBS’s “The Odd Couple.” He is the writing partner of Robert Ben Garant; they’ve teamed on the “Night at the Museum” franchise and the upcoming “Baywatch.”

Kier is a German actor with more than 200 credits. He’s appeared in most of Lars Von Trier’s films including “Nymphomaniac.” Kier is also starring in Zahler’s upcoming “Brawl in Cell Block 99,” also starring Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Carpenter and Don Johnson.

Lennon is represented by UTA, Principato-Young Entertainment and attorney Karl Austen.  Pellicer and Kier are represented by Richard Schwartz Management.  Franklin is represented by CAA, Principato-Young Entertainment, and attorneys Ken Richman and Bryan Swatt.  Yi is represented by UTA and attorney Lev Ginsburg.  Beh is represented by APA and attorney Matthew Wallerstein.  Crampton is represented by AEFH and Silver Mine Entertainment.  Zahler is represented by UTA, Cinestate and Ziffren Brittenham LLP.

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