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Turteltaub’s ‘Phenomenon’

Jon Turteltaub, who last helmed the box office hit “While You Were Sleeping,” next will direct John Travolta in Touchstone Pictures’ fantasy “Phenomenon,” sources said.

Written by Gerald DiPego, “Phenomenon” is about an ordinary guy in a small town who becomes a genius after being struck by lightning, or, perhaps, hit by an alien force. Schedules are being worked out for a fall start.

Travolta signed on to the project last month with an estimated $8 million payday. The project originally had Mike Newell (“Four Weddings and a Funeral”) committed to helm, but he recently signed on for TriStar Pictures’ “Donnie Brasco.”

The project will be produced by Barbara Boyle and Michael Taylor. The deal is being negotiated by Turteltaub’s agent, Creative Artists Agency’s David Lonner, with Touchstone president Donald DeLine and Touchstone executive Jane Goldenring and Christina Steinberg.

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