Comic book scribe to pen superhuman actioner

Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich, whose “Godzilla” is set to stamp out the U.S. box office next month, will join Will Smith’s “The Mark” at Universal Pictures as producers, the studio announced Monday.

Smith and James Lassiter, who runs Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment, will also produce. Comic book scribe Rob Liefeld is writing the screenplay.

Pic is noteworthy considering Devlin and Emmerich recently inked a lucrative big-ticket production pact with Sony Pictures Entertainment. But Sony brass said the studio had no problem with the pair handling the pic for U.

The project will reunite Smith with Devlin/Emmerich. Smith was one of the leads in Devlin/Emmerich’s 1996 boffo performer “Independence Day.”

Smith is set to star in “The Mark,” which is a futuristic actioner about a man who finds himself with superhuman powers after an older man transfers a supernatural mark to his hand.

U plans to shoot the pic in late 1998 or early 1999. Devlin and Emmerich are expected to help with the high-tech special effects end of the pic, transforming it into a big-budget high-tech extravaganza.

Before “The Mark,” Smith has to do “K-Pax” for Universal. That pic is set to shoot after Smith finishes “The Wild, Wild West” for Warner Bros. later this year.

“I’m thrilled to have Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich working with Smith, James Lassiter and us on what promises to be a huge film for the studio,” Casey Silver, chairman of Universal Pictures.

“Godzilla,” which is distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment’s TriStar Pictures, is set for release May 20 nationwide. Pic, which Devlin and Emmerich have kept under wraps with virtually no press or preview screenings, is expected to have a monstrous opening weekend.

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