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United Talent signs Lawton, Lawrence

Marking the second major signing in as many days, United Talent Agency said Tuesday that it has signed screenwriter-turned-director Jonathan Lawton for representation in all fields.

The Lawton signing comes fast on the heels of UTA’s signing of raunchy comic Martin Lawrence, who may be persona non grata at “Saturday Night Live” but is up for starring roles in several studio comedies.

Lawton will be represented by UTA president Marty Bauer and David Kanter, while Lawrence will be repped by agency partners Jim Berkus, David Schiff and Judy Hofflund.

Lawton, who is managed by Warner Bros.-based producer/manager Gary Goldstein, had been without an agent for about six months.

The screenwriter of “Pretty Woman,””Under Siege,””Mistress” and the upcoming Columbia summer release “Blankman” opted to sign with a 10-percenter to help guide his career as a director.

Bow behind camera

Lawton is skedded to make his directorial debut in May on Universal’s Christopher Lambert/Joan Chen actioner “Kirina.”

Lawrence, who’s managed by Sandy Gallin, had been wooed by the major percenteries for the past few weeks. He’s under consideration for the Simpson/Bruckheimer-produced “Bad Boys”– which was once to star Dana Carvey and Jon Lovitz — as well as the Imagine comedy “The Gelfand.”

High hopes

UTA, which got $ 7 million for the next movie outing of “In Living Color” star Jim Carrey, considers Lawrence “the next breakthrough comedy star,” according to a rep. UTA agents Karen Russell and Brandt Joel were credited as key players in landing Lawrence. Release of his concert film, “You So Crazy,” was delayed when the film was MPAA-rated NC-17. It will be released in early April by Miramax.

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