‘Buffy’ star likely for ‘Learning’

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” headliner Kristy Swanson is in final negotiations with Columbia Pictures to star in writer/director John Singleton’s “Higher Learning,” which is slated for a February production start, sources said Friday.

Pending finalization, Swanson will appear opposite Ice Cube, Michael Rappaport, Regina King and “Flesh and Bone” star Gwyneth Paltrow in the pic, which is Singleton’s third directorial effort for Colpix following “Boyz N the Hood” and “Poetic Justice.”

Columbia Pictures declined comment on the Swanson negotiations, but sources indicated that a deal is imminent.

The film’s budget is estimated at $ 10 million to $ 12 million.

“Higher Learning” is an ensemble piece about college students, which has been described as “Nashville” meets “Boyz N the Hood.” It marks the first time Singleton has tackled a movie that focuses on both black and white characters.

The go movie will be produced by Singleton and Paul Hall, while Dwight Williams will co-produce. Hall took the overland route in becoming a Hollywood producer, working on a $ 25,000 electronic press kit for “Boyz N the Hood” and a half-hour show about the making of “Poetic Justice” before winning the producer’s credit on “Higher Learning.”

Swanson has just wrapped work opposite Charlie Sheen in “The Chase,” which is skedded for a March 4 release by 20th Century Fox.

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