Helmer to take on Kubrick's pet project

Steven Spielberg has committed to write and direct “A.I.” for Warner Bros. and DreamWorks, with production slated to begin July 10.

The long-awaited commitment doesn’t jettison the Oscar-winning director’s plans to shoot the Fox-DreamWorks co-production “Minority Report,” however. Production is skedded to begin on the Tom Cruise starrer in April 2001.

“A.I.” (the term stands for artificial intelligence) was the longtime pet project of the late filmmaker Stanley Kubrick. “During the preparations for ‘A.I.,’ Stanley came to realize that Steven would actually be the ideal director for the project,” said Jan Harlan, brother-in-law to the late Kubrick and the producer of all of Kubrick’s films since “Barry Lyndon.” “I know they talked extensively about a collaboration,” said Harlan, who has long been associated with “A.I.”

Harlan will exec produce “A.I.” with Walter Parkes. Kathleen Kennedy, Bonnie Curtis and Spielberg will produce the film, which will be credited as a Stanley Kubrick Production. Warner Bros. will handle domestic distribution, with international distribution handled by DreamWorks.

“There is only one person who can direct ‘A.I.,’ and we couldn’t be more excited and honored that he has agreed to make it his next movie,” said Lorenzo di Bonaventura, president of Warner Bros. worldwide theatrical production. “Steven Spielberg is one of the greatest living directors and I am sure that he will bring his singular humanity and unique vision to this incredible story.”

Given the epic scope of “A.I.,” for which Kubrick wrote a treatment, Spielberg faces an unforgiving shooting sked on the pic if he is to make the April 2001 start for “Minority Report.”

Based on a story by sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick, “Minority Report” is set in a futuristic judicial system in which killers are arrested and convicted before they commit murder. Screenplay was written by Jon Cohen and rewritten — several times — by Scott Frank (“Out of Sight”).

” ‘Minority Report’ is one of Fox’s most exciting projects and we are thrilled that it’s come together with a terrific script and a firm start date,” said Bill Mechanic, chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment. “We are eagerly anticipating the magic that Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise will create when the film goes into production next year.”

Fox will handle worldwide theatrical and international homevideo on “Minority Report,” while DreamWorks will handle the rights for domestic homevid and worldwide television. No release date has been set.

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