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Universal picks up CAA ‘Still Life’ pack

Douglas, Streep to topline

Universal Pictures has acquired a Creative Artists Agency-structured package for Andrea King’s family drama “Still Life” with Michael Douglas set to star and produce. And though their deals have not been finalized, Meryl Streep and Mimi Leder have committed to co-star and direct, respectively.

Pic is about an estranged couple who, after the death of their daughter, are forced to confront their past and their relationship with one another — while trying to raise their grandchildren.

Universal wants “Still Life” on a fast track, but because of schedules for Douglas, Streep and Leder, pic probably won’t get into production until the fall of 1999.

U prexy of production Stacey Snider brought the project into the studio, and will oversee it.

The pic may be a perfect example of the advantage major agencies have in terms of packaging scripts and stars for studios. In this case, CAA represents Douglas, Streep, King and Leder; as well as Douglas’ Universal-based production banner, Furthur Films. According to U insiders, CAA offered the above-the-line corps at extremely reasonable rates, effecting a midsized budget for the studio for an above-the-line package that normally might tip the higher end of the budget scales.

The project — which was packaged and bought by U based on a first draft — could mark the first of King’s projects to go into production. The former Hollywood trade reporter’s other credits include the comedy scripts “Body Language,” “Buddha from Brooklyn” and “Animal Attraction.”

Since seguing to the bigscreen from “ER,” Leder has helmed “Peacemaker” and “Deep Impact.” According to sources, Leder is no longer attached to direct Universal’s “Saving Grace.”

While last month Douglas pulled out of Universal’s “U-571,” he is attached to star in Paramount’s “Wonder Boys,” for producer Scott Rudin. However, no director is attached.

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