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Bass traps ‘Mouse,’ ‘Code’

Oscar-winning scribe Ron Bass has picked the first two projects he’ll write for TriStar Pictures under his new six-pic, $8 million deal with the studio: “Cat and Mouse” and “The Code,” sources said.

It wasn’t clear which will head into production first, but insiders said “Cat” is on a fast track.

The project, produced by Andy Licht and Jeff Mueller, had been thought to be stuck in the development quagmire after director Joe Dante dropped out and former TriStar prexy Marc Platt left for Universal. But new TriStar president Robert Cooper liked it and gave it to Bass to adapt.

‘Cat’ payday

TriStar originally spent $750,000 against $1 million for the spec by Neil Tolkin. Bass’ payment was not divulged, but it is thought to be between $1 million and $2 million as part of the overall agreement.

“Cat and Mouse,” formerly known as “Rupert and Murdoch,” will mix live action and animation. It was described as the adventures of two wily creatures in the real world. Bernie Brillstein, Brad Grey and Howard Rosenman are exec producers.

The project had been under the aegis of former production exec Michael Besman, who now has a production pact with Sony. Exec VP Chris Lee will oversee “Cat” for the studio.

‘Code’ spells more dough

Bass will receive an additional payday for “Code,” an adaptation of Nathaniel Penn and Lawrence LaRose’s book that some have described as the male answer to the female how-to guide, “The Rules.” TriStar senior VP of production Amy Baer is the exec on “Code.”

Bass’ credits include “Rain Man,” which earned him a co-scripting Oscar (with Barry Morrow), “Dangerous Minds,” “Waiting to Exhale” and TriStar’s upcoming “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” starring Julia Roberts.

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