‘Executive Privilege’ to Kopelson

Two Warner Bros. outfits, New Regency Prods. and Arnold Kopelson Prods., picked up the rights Wednesday to “Executive Privilege,” a Washington, D.C.-set thriller penned by two unproduced Chicago scribes.

Wayne Beach and David Hodgin sold the script for $ 400,000 against $ 750,000.

Warner Bros. got into something of a bidding war with Brillstein-Grey Entertainment, which offered $ 375,000 for the script before Kopelson made its last, best and final bid. Columbia Pictures, another bidder, dropped out earlier.

“We were left at the altar,” Bernie Brillstein said. “Warner Bros. kept matching. So Brad (Grey) and I said fine.”

Brillstein, who called “Executive Privilege” a”great script,” said his company intended to produce the film itself.

The script, dubbed “In the Line of Fire” meets “The Pelican Brief,” is the story of a Washington cop who goes over the chief of the Secret Service to investigate a murder in the White House. Members of the first family are suspects.

WB and New Regency, Arnon Milchan’s WB-based company, will finance development and production, while New Regency and Kopelson will jointly produce.

The deal is the second that New Regency’s new prexy, Michael Nathanson, has inked in less than a week, following Friday’s acquisition of “Empire.”

No directors or stars are yet attached to “Executive Privilege,” and no timetable has been set. The deal was negotiated for Beach and Hodgin by their agent, Rick Berg, of Sanford, Skouras & Gross.

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