Herbert Ross is committed to direct Whoopi Goldberg in the New Regency Prods. female buddy comedy “Boys on the Side,” with production to begin in October. Ross’ contract for the picture isbeing finalized.

New Regency’s Arnon Milchan and prez Steve Reuther will produce. Warner Bros. will distribute worldwide.

“I’m hoping to do it, because I think it’s very contemporary,” Ross said. “It’s good writing (script by Don Roos) and Whoopi is hoping to do it, too.”

Goldberg’s sked includes “Sister Act II” (for Touchstone), “Corrina, Corrina” (to be directed by Jessie Nelson for New Line Cinema) and “Boys on the Side.”

Ross (“The Turning Point”) is “very excited” about the story, which he describes as “a comedy about serious matters” revolving around three strong female characters who wind up living together.

“It’s about how much our society has changed and how individual needs for values and friends to sustain yourself have changed … since the conventional family has broken down,” Ross explained. “It’s about establishing families when the conventional family doesn’t exist.”

Calling the interracial casting call a “good reflection of our society,” Ross is looking for the right 18- to 20-year-old (to play a young woman who meets her true love when she’s pregnant) and 28- to 32-year-old to play the other housemate. “One role is for a Hispanic woman,” Ross said.

Project will likely get under way after shooting wraps on Ross’ current pic, “Undercover Blues” (for MGM). Stars Dennis Quaid and Kathleen Turner will be before cameras for the last day of shooting when Turner gets over the flu and the sun shines. “We just need a sunny day on the water,” Ross laughed amid the torrential rain Thursday.

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