Bassett heartbeat away from inking for ‘Trauma’

Carter taking helm for Fox 2000

Having put the groove into 20th Century Fox’s “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” Angela Bassett is in negotiations to star in the ER-based love story “Trauma” under Thomas Carter’s helm for Fox 2000.

Doug Chapin and Barry Krost will produce the pic under their Krost/Chapin shingle; and Jack Brodsky will exec produce.

Tina Andrews (“Why Do Fools Fall in Love”) adapted the screenplay from Barbara Rogan’s novel “A Heartbeat Away.”

The project originally had been in development at United Artists when John Calley was running the banner (with Bassett and Laurence Fishburne attached to star and Bill Duke to direct), but later was put into turnaround and picked up by Fox 2000.

Fox 2000 executive vice president Kevin McCormick, who had been the producer on the project when it was set up at UA, will oversee the film for the studio. Pending cast availability, Fox is eyeing a fall start for the film.

Set against the frenzied backdrop of a New York City emergency room, “Trauma” is a romance between an unassuming cleaning woman (Bassett), the widow of a famous tenor sax player, and the head surgeon of the hospital. Though she has gone about her job largely unnoticed by the hospital staff and its habitues, she catches the surgeon’s eye after she begins delivering life-saving tips — which are fed to her from a dead doctor who is unable to rest in peace because he thinks he killed a child.

Fishburne no longer is attached and no other casting decisions have been made at this time.

Bassett, the stage-trained actress who cut her screen chops in such films as “Boyz N the Hood,” “City of Hope” and “Malcolm X,” first gained widespread acclaim for her portrayal of gamy pop icon Tina Turner in the biopic “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” The role earned her an Oscar nomination.

Bassett, who this summer co-starred with Alec Baldwin in the Joseph Papp Theatre production of “Macbeth,” also has starred in “Strange Days,” “Waiting to Exhale” and Fox’s current release, “How Stella Got Her Groove Back.”

“Trauma” will serve as Bassett’s next film, following the recently wrapped “Supernova” for United Artists. She is repped by ICM’s George Freeman and Ed Limato.

Carter began his career as an actor (perhaps best known for his role as James Hayward in the high school hoops series “The White Shadow”) and later segued to directing and producing. Among his helming credits are such TV shows as “Hill Street Blues,” “Fame” and “Michael Hayes”; the telepic “Divas”; and the features “Swing Kids” and “Metro.”

Carter’s deal was brokered by CAA.

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