LaBute nears multipic pact with Propaganda

Neil LaBute, the indie director whose “In the Company of Men” is currently taking the specialty market by storm, is in final talks for a non-exclusive first-look deal with Propaganda Films that will start with “Friends and Neighbors” starring Jason Patric, sources said Monday.

Propaganda would not comment on LaBute’s pending deal. But insiders noted that it will result in a seven-figure payday for the helmer.

Scripted by LaBute, “Friends and Neighbors” is an ensemble piece about three men and three women in various complicated love relationships. The project does not have a start date, but casting director Mali Finn has been inked to cast the pic.

In addition, Propaganda is in talks with Aaron Eckhart, who co-starred in “In the Company of Men,” for him to star in “Friends and Neighbors.”

Patric, who was just out this summer in “Speed 2,” will also produce the new pic along with Propaganda chairman Steve Golin.

Stephen Pevner, LaBute’s producing partner, will exec produce.

Pic was brought into Propaganda by Alix Madigan, the exec who runs Patric’s company Fleece Films at Propaganda.

Brad Gross of Sanford-Gross Agency is repping LaBute in the discussions.

UTA’s David Schiff handles Patric. Eckhart is repped by Scott Melrose of Paradigm Agency.

LaBute won critical raves for his debut pic “In the Company of Men,” which is currently dominating the specialty market B.O.

The pic — a scathing look at the misogyny of two young white-collar executives — won the Filmmakers Trophy at the Sundance Film Festival and screened at the Cannes Film Festival in Un Certain Regard. Eckhart also won best actor award for the pic in the Taormina Film Festival in Italy.

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