Playwright taking helming role

NEW YORK — In his first comic foray as a director, David Mamet will helm “State and Maine” in September with an ensemble cast topped by Alec Baldwin, Sarah Jessica Parker, William H. Macy, Rebecca Pigeon, Charles Durning and Patti LuPone.

The film is being financed by UGC Intl., and Fine Line Features has completed a negative pickup deal for North American rights.

The Mamet-scripted comedy opens as a film crew and cast arrive to shoot a movie in rural New England. The townsfolk prove to be movie savvy, or get that way quickly.

“When you consider that box office scores are carried in USA Today and even local news, it seemed that the time was right for David to present this story of Hollywood coming to small town Vermont,” said Fine Line president Mark Ordesky. “When the production tries to rent Main Street, you’ve got people asking for gross points.”

The film is being produced by Sarah Green, and exec produced by El Dorado partners Alec Baldwin and Jon Cornick. Shooting will begin in late September in Massachusetts.

After Mamet scripted the comedy “Wag the Dog” for New Line, Fine Line jumped at the chance to get another Mamet-penned comedy. The writer originally expected to make the film “Hi and Lo” at Disney, but the project stalled over cast and budget.

Rachael Horovitz, Fine Line’s senior veep of production and acquisitions, remembered that Mamet had written “State and Maine” several years ago (Daily Variety, May 6, 1997), and quickly resuscitated it, bringing Mamet together with actors who shone strongly in past projects, such as Baldwin in the Mamet-scripted “Glengarry Glen Ross” and Macy in “Wag the Dog.” Mamet was repped by agent Howard Rosenstone and attorney Stan Coleman.

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