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Col seeks to deal in ‘Multiplicity’

Just as it preps “Groundhog Day” for Feb. 12 release, Columbia Pictures has entered into negotiations to acquire husband-and-wife screenwriters Chris Miller’s and Mary Hale’s “Multiplicity” for director Harold Ramis, studio sources confirmed yesterday.

Columbia Pictures executive veepee of production Amy Pascal and business affairs executive Daryl Walker are reportedly finalizing a bid for the screenplay, which is likely to be completed within the week.

“Multiplicity” is described as the story of an advertising executive who has to deal with not having enough time in his life. In “Groundhog Day,” Ramis also explores the comic possibilities of time — although in very different ways.

Screenwriter Miller previously co-wrote the “Animal House” screenplay and wrote “Club Paradise,” while “Multiplicity” would mark Hale’s first major studio sale. Hale was previously a television reporter at Fox Entertainment News and KCAL-TV. The “Multiplicity” screenplay is based on a short story by Miller, which will be published by National Lampoon in February.

The “Multiplicity” bid comes as part of the studio’s attempt to find the next picture for Ramis’ Colpix-based Ocean Pictures shingle. The director has reportedly indicated his interest in helming “Multiplicity” later in 1993.

Columbia Pictures spokesman Mark Gill had no comment on the “Multiplicity” configuration, while Agency for the Performing Arts veepee Justen Dardis did not return telephone calls. Dardis represents Miller and Hale.

The project would mark Dardis’ third sale in just over a month, following deals with Universal for the Michael J. Fox vehicle “30 Wishes” and TriStar Pictures project “Him.” The TriStar sale was the largest spec screenplay sale of 1992, checking in at a cool $ 1 million.

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