Silberling’s ‘Baby’ nears Disney berth

Mouse gets pic after brief stints at WB, Bel Air

NEW YORK — Disney is near a deal to finance “Baby’s in Black,” Brad Silberling’s next directing effort. Silberling, who wrote the script and will produce with Mark Johnson, will try to get into production before the projected actors strike in the summer, with Dustin Hoffman in talks to join Susan Sarandon in the film.

The drama is set in the early ’70s and centers on family dynamics in the aftermath of a young woman’s murder. The girl’s parents (Sarandon and Hoffman) take their son-in-law under their roof as he tries to get over the trauma of losing his lover.

That dynamic gets weird when the grieving young man reluctantly falls in love with another woman, equally an emotional wreck as she awaits the unlikely return of a boyfriend presumed to be dead in Vietnam. The film shares some of the otherworldly touches found in Silberling’s first two films, “Casper” and, especially, “City of Angels.”

“Baby’s in Black,” which originally was set up at DreamWorks, moves to Disney after a brief flirtation with Warner Bros. and Bel Air Entertainment. The project was brought in by exec veep Mark Vahradian and topper Peter Schneider.

The key to getting it going pre-strike will be finding the right young actors to play the young man and the woman he falls in love with, as well as his deceased lover, who appears in flashbacks.

While he preps the film, Silberling has kept busy directing his first episode of the TV drama “Judging Amy,” which stars his wife, Amy Brenneman.

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