Channing reprises B’way role in film ‘Six Degrees’

Stockard Channing has been set to reprise her Broadway role as Ouisa Kittredge in MGM’s “Six Degrees of Separation,” which will head into production in February under the direction of Fred Schepisi, the studio confirmed Friday.

Based on the play by John Guare, “Six Degrees” will also feature “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” star Will Smith as the hustler, Paul.

The casting follows Smith’s feature debut in “Where the Day Takes You.” Other cast has not been set.

“Six Degrees” is about a young African-American man who ingratiates himself into a white middle-class family by claiming to be the son of Sidney Poitier.

With an estimated budget of $ 16 million, the pic will be distributed by MGM in the United States and Canada. As reported (Daily Variety, Sept. 8), Arnon Milchan’s New Regency will distribute the movie in all other territories. Regency is backed by Le Studio Canal Plus and Warner Bros.

The project marks the first time MGM topper Alan Ladd Jr. and Milchan have worked together since 1984, when Milchan produced “Once Upon a Time in America” for the Ladd Co. at Warner Bros.

The greenlight on the pic follows MGM’s start on director Carl Reiner’s “Triple Indemnity,” which went into production last week.

The movie marks Schepisi’s first movie since Universal’s “Mr. Baseball.” He last worked for MGM on the 1990 release “Russia House.” Schepisi’s previous credits include “A Cry in the Dark,””Roxanne,””Plenty” and “Barbarosa.”

The play is currently at Los Angeles’ James Doolittle Theatre, the first stop of its national tour.

“Six Degrees” joins the Madonna starrer “Body of Evidence,””Adam’s Heart, “”Thumbelina,””Meteor Man,””Rich in Love,””Undercover Blues,””Son of the Pink Panther” and “Benny & Joon” on MGM’s 1993 release schedule, according to the research firm Exhibitor Relations Co.

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