Forman opens U’s ‘Little Black Book’

NEW YORK – Two-time Oscar-winning director Milos Forman has agreed to make “The Little Black Book” his next film. Forman, who ended a five-year hiatus with “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” expects to begin shooting the film for Universal in the fall.

“The Little Black Book” is an adaptation of a French play by Jean-Claude Carriere that features a diverse cast of creative players. It’s been adapted by Dutch novelist Leon de Winter (“Hoffman’s Hunger”) and will be produced by Austrian-born Eric Pleskow. Despite the international pedigree, “The Little Black Book” is described as a romantic comedy set in New York.

The film reunites Forman with Pleskow, who ran UA when Forman directed “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Hair” and headed Orion when Forman directed “Amadeus” and “Valmont.” Director and producer were united by Forman’s longtime agent, Robert Lantz, who also repped de Winter and Carriere in what the veteran agent called his first and only film package.

“For many years, I’ve developed the play and was finally able to enlist a rather interesting Dutch writer,” said Pleskow, who last produced “Beyond Rangoon.” “The problem was it had only two acts and Leon developed the structure we needed to turn it into a sophisticated American comedy for grown-ups.”

Though Forman had been offered films from just about every studio following “Flynt,” de Winter said Forman has wanted to do the play as a film since he staged it in New York nearly 25 years ago. “Plays written in the ’60s have problems, in that (they’re) wonderful but connected to a certain era. When you read it now, there are wonderful setups and situations and a collection of great lines, but it needed a story.”

In the script, a cop who’s enmeshed in a bank robbery investigation is visited by a mysterious woman he can’t get rid of. It turns out she’s in his black book, which contains a log of about 500 sexual conquests, and now she’s out for revenge.

It’s the second project at Universal that has attracted Forman. He’s attached to a biopic of quirky comic Andy Kaufman, which is being scripted by “Flynt” screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski for Jersey Films. Forman also continues to develop a remake of “Dodsworth” at Warner Bros. with screenwriter Alfred Uhry, possibly for Harrison Ford.

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