Staging a transfer

Legit helmer Mendes makes 'Beauty'-ful pic

Veteran legit helmer Sam Mendes is set to make his feature film directorial debut on DreamWork’s edgy comedy “American Beauty.”

The low-budget pic, based on a spec by Alan Ball, is being produced by Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen.

The script examines the lives of two suburban families and the tragic results of one man’s obsession with his daughter’s best friend.

The studio picked up the spec script in April, outbidding several other specialized production entities, including Fox Searchlight, October, Goldwyn and Lakeshore.

DreamWorks exec Glenn Williamson, who brought the script into the studio, will oversee the project along with feature production head Bob Cooper.

Mendes recently directed the Broadway revival of “Cabaret,” which won Tony Awards this year for best revival, as well for as thesps Alan Cumming, Natasha Richardson and Ron Rifkin. He also directed the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s recent production of “Othello.”

In London, Mendes helmed “The Cherry Orchard” at the Aldwych, as well as the Royal National Theatre productions of “The Sea” and “The Rise and Fall of Little Voice.”

“Sam Mendes is arguably the most sought-after director in the theater today,” said Walter Parkes, DreamWorks production co-topper. “DreamWorks is thrilled to be the studio to bring his talent and creativity to the big screen.’

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