Davison, Finnell to produce pic

Joe Dante, who last helmed “Small Soldiers” for DreamWorks, has inked to handle directing duties for Phoenix Pictures’ action-adventure cloning thriller “The Sixth Day.”

Jon Davison and Mike Finnell are producing. Cormac and Marianne Wibberly penned the screenplay.

No cast is attached yet, but Phoenix plans to get the project into production by June with a budget around $40 million.

Pic, set in the future, is about a helicopter pilot who comes home to find himself replaced by a clone. When the forces that cloned him find out he’s still alive, they attempt to assassinate him.

Phoenix chairman and CEO Mike Medavoy said the company will be out to stars in the next few weeks.

“If I were to cast the perfect star for this, it would be Jimmy Stewart,” he said. “It’s the everyman.”

Medavoy added he was especially interested in Dante and the producers because they had all been proteges of indie helmer Roger Corman in their early years.

“All these guys came out of Corman. They’re Corman graduates,” Medavoy said. “What you have here is a director who has actually directed movies that have done very well. He has directed a number of commercial films.”

The pic will reunite Dante, Davison and Finnell from their work on “Twilight Zone: The Movie.”

Dante’s other feature credits include “Innerspace,” “Gremlins,” “The Howling,” “Matinee” and “Hollywood Boulevard.”

Davison has produced “Starship Troopers,” “Robocop,” “Airplane!” and “Hollywood Boulevard.”

Finnell worked with Dante on “Small Soldiers,” “Gremlins 2: The New Batch,” “The ‘Burbs,” “Innerspace,” “Gremlins” and “The Howling.”

Phoenix execs Anne Rodman, Eriq Paquette and Christy Prunier will oversee the project for the company.

Dante and Finnell were repped by David Gersh of the Gersh Agency and attorneys at Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown.

Davison is handled by attorney Steve Warren at Hansen, Jacobson.

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