Leder eyes ‘Collateral’

Helmer may direct gangster tale from Oz scribe Beattie

Mimi Leder is in negotiations to return to DreamWorks to direct the thriller “Collateral” as her next picture.

Pic tells the story of a Gotham cabbie who, when he realizes he is driving a hit man from murder to murder, unwittingly becomes “collateral” — that is, a witness who is then forced to commit murder himself, so as to discourage any report of the crimes.

The script was written by Aussie scribe Stuart Beattie (“Kick”). No talent has been signed yet.

Julie Richardson will produce the film, with Frank Darabont (“The Green Mile”), Rob Fried and Chuck Russell serving as exec producers. DreamWorks exec Marc Haimes oversees the project for the studio.

Leder’s most recent film, the Bel-Air Entertainment and Warner Bros. co-production “Pay It Forward,” will be released Oct. 20. She made her feature-directing debut in 1997 with “The Peacemaker” for DreamWorks.

Leder is repped by CAA.

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