Starting 2-year, 2-pic deal

New Line Cinema has unveiled the first pic under the two-year, two-picture development deal it signed late last year with Gotham playwright Douglas Carter Beane.

Based on a pitch by Beane to New Line Prods. prexy Michael De Luca, the untitled black comedy is about a group of New York rich kids who befriend a suicidal man in order to become beneficiaries of his life insurance policy.

“This is the kind of irreverent material that we hoped we would get,” De Luca said. “It’s rare to find a fresh pitch that skillfully deals with characters on the brink of desperation.”

Beane will write the screenplay for his pitch after he finishes adapting his Off Broadway play “As Bees in Honey Drown” for Sandollar Prods. and Universal Pictures.

Under his deal with New Line, Beane earns a monthly fee and gets a piece of the backend of each production, in what was described as “very lucrative terms.”

Beane’s writing collective, the Drama Dept., has a separate deal with New Line under which NL and specialty outfit Fine Line Features will underwrite four playwriting workshops in return for the exclusive option to purchase the material. That deal kicks in later this year.

Meanwhile, Parker Posey and Peter Gallagher have signed to star in the $5 million feature adaptation of Beane’s play “Advice From a Caterpillar,” which is being produced by Jana Edelbaum and Edgar Lansbury, and directed by Don Scardino. William Morris Agency is repping the project, which does not yet have distribution.

Beane has several scripts in development around town, including “The Closet Case” for Interscope Communications and “Lady Be Good” for producer Denise Di Novi.

Beane was repped by William Morris Agency’s Mary Meagher and by attorney Steve Breimer of Bloom, Hegott, Cook, Diemer & Klein.

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