Whitaker, Landau pick up ‘Cup’

Forest Whitaker will star opposite Martin Landau in the $ 6 million urban drama “The Gold Cup.”

Though Patricia Arquette has not yet agreed to appear, she reportedly is also in negotiations to co-star as Whitaker’s love interest.

Lee Caplin, prexy and CEO of Beverly Hills-based indie Picture Entertainment Corp., who will produce the pic, independently raised the initial $ 6 million production budget and secured a $ 3.5 million P&A coffer.

Distributor sought

Caplin, who recently ended PEC’s wobbly partnership with a Japanese publishing group, is still shopping for a distrib.

Writer/helmer Lucas Reiner, who also directed “The Spirit of ’76,” will shoot “Gold” in downtown Los Angeles this fall.

Nancy Paloian, who is also set to co-produce “Martin Eden” for Just Betzer Films, will line produce.

Caplin describes the story as a down and out ’90s version of “Diner”– an unlikely love story of two ragged characters who take refuge in a defunct greasy spoon.

“I want to show the honor and humanity between people at any level in society ,” Caplin said, steering clear of the “homeless” label.

The life story of Muhammad Ali is also in the works, with a $ 20 million budget already raised between PEC and New England-based Roundhill Prods. No cast or distrib has been set.

Up sooner from Caplin, who also runs the San Diego-based Sun Comic Publishing , are a series of small-screen features based on comic book characters.

Two such projects, “Scorpio” and “Jack Hunter,” are currently in development for Stephen J. Cannell Prods., with “My Science Project” writer/helmer Jonathan Betuel as writer and co-exec producer with Caplin.

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