Mark Wahlberg producing feature version of `The Raven`

Los Angeles: After over eight months of on-and-off-again negotiations, Universal Pictures has acquired the rights to Ricardo De Montreuil`s short film `The Raven`.

Mark Wahlberg is producing the feature-length project alongside partner Steve Levinson in what is being developed as a starring vehicle for the actor, currently riding high on the buzz generated by "The Fighter."

"Raven" was part of the short film wave that hit Hollywood in the late winter and early spring when many up-and-coming filmmakers, with studio aspirations, released their own mini-movies in the hopes of catching ride on the Hollywood comet.

A deal was almost reached in the summer but fell apart due to a progress-to-production term. In the fall, the moving pieces began to coalesce anew and a deal was closed.

"Raven" focused on a young man with powers being chased around downtown Los Angeles by robotic police drones, while a giant police ship coordinates the effort from the skies above.

While it may have taken a long time to iron out a deal for "Raven," the short did have its desired effect of opening doors, including those at Universal.

De Montreuil, who hails from Peru, recently closed a deal to helm the coming-of-age drama "Lowriders" for the studio.

Bureau Report