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‘Niagara’ remake falls to twosome

Twentieth Century Fox-based indie producer Paul Schiff and “Indecent Proposal” screenwriter Amy Holden Jones are jointly developing a contemporary remake of Henry Hathaway’s 1953 suspenser “Niagara,” which teamed Marilyn Monroe and Joseph Cotten.

While neither Schiff nor Fox officials returned calls Tuesday, sources familiar with the project say Jones’ version will be a modern reinterpretation of the story and will play up the sexual undercurrents that, because of the times, were more subtle in the original.

Released by Fox and produced and co-written by Charles Brackett, the original “Niagara” was a tale of a faithless woman plotting to kill her husband while on their honeymoon at Niagara Falls but he turns the tables.

The movie also starred Jean Peters, Casey Adams and Don Wilson.

As for casting the new version, it is likely that Schiff and Fox will go after a major female star who is the ’90s versionof Monroe like Sharon Stone. However, no talent or director has been approached.

Fox sources say Schiff hopes to have a draft of the script by this summer and would like to begin lensing the remake in early 1994.

‘Niagara” will be produced under Schiff’s indie banner as part of the producer’s exclusive deal with Fox, with Schiff serving as sole producer and his colleague Barry Sabath functioning as co-producer.

Jones’ latest work, “Indecent Proposal,” has translated into more than $ 71 million to date at the box office for Paramount Pictures. She previously wrote “Beethoven” and “Mystic Pizza” and made her directorial debut with “Slumber Party Massacre.”

She also co-wrote and directed “Maid to Order” and previously worked as an editor on “American Boy,””Corvette Summer,””Second Hand Hearts” and Roger Corman’s “Hollywood Boulevard.”

In TV, Jones created the ABC TV series “Jack’s Place.”

Since Schiff signed his exclusive indie deal at Fox nearly three years ago under former studio chief Joe Roth, he has produced the comedy hit “My Cousin Vinny,””The Vanishing,” and the fall release “Ghost and the Machine.”

He begins production on “P.C.U.” a college comedy marking the directorial debut of actor Hart Bochner, in early summer and has several projects in the works, including the fast-tracked remake of “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.”

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