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Kline holds ‘House’ Key

Dark comedy/drama follows dying man's dream of building a house

Kevin Kline is in serious discussions with Irwin Winkler’s Winkler Films to topline “Life as a House.”

Recently put into turnaround at Sony’s Columbia Pictures, the script for “House” comes from Mark L. Andrus, who co-wrote the Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt starrer “As Good as It Gets,” a 1997 pic that won Oscars for both Nicholson and Hunt.

Produced by Sony-based Winkler and producing partner Rob Cowan, “House” was initially being farmed out as an open directing assignment at Columbia — until, that is, Academy Award-winning producer Winkler took an interest in helming the project himself and looked elsewhere for financing.

The dark comedy/drama had attracted the interest of Lakeshore Entertainment, but talks that would have placed the project at the Par-based financier-production entity fell apart earlier this week.

Now, according to insiders, discussions with New Line Cinema have started that would likely give the mini-major both distribbing and financing on “Life as a House.” Both sides are aiming for a November start for lensing, should a deal be reached.

Storyline concerns a man who, upon learning that he’s dying, sets about fulfilling his long postponed dream of building a house. By corralling his estranged son to aid in the task, he manages to rekindle an understanding with both the son and his estranged wife.

Both Andrus and Klein are repped by Creative Artists Agency.

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