Something ‘Special’ for Chase, MGM

Pic first from new Lion den

Commercials helmer Steve Chase has inked to direct the romantic comedy “Special” for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures. Pic looks set to become the first production initiated at the Lion since its new management team was installed in May.

“Special” will be produced by Original Films’ Neal Moritz. In the pic, a construction foreman, determined to win an autographed football for the son of his girlfriend — who won’t marry him unless the 8-year-old approves — pretends to be handicapped. But when he becomes the subject of a PBS documentary, he is forced to continue the ruse for longer than he expected.

There is no cast yet on the project, which was written by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, but offers are out for a production start before the end of the year.

That would make “Special” the first pic to be greenlit and go into production at MGM since Alex Yemenidjian and Chris McGurk took over the running of the studio in May.

Several pics, including “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” and “Return to Me,” have shot this year but were initiated under the previous management, as was Joan Chen’s “Autumn in New York,” starring Richard Gere and Winona Ryder, which begins lensing Sept. 13.

MGM is planning to put several other pics into production in the next few months, including John McTiernan’s “Rollerball” and John Woo’s “Windtalkers.”

MGM exec Kahli Small will oversee “Special” for the studio.

Original Films has a production deal at Sony Pictures. Moritz’s producing credits include “Urban Legend” and “Cruel Intentions.” With Toby Jaffe, he also produced Sony’s upcoming Martin Lawrence starrer “Blue Streak.”

Chase has flirted with directing features on several occasions. A few years ago he looked at a number of projects, but ultimately went back to commercials.

Chase was just signed by UTA. He is also repped by 3 Arts Entertainment and attorney Steve Warren.

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