Up for the ‘Count’

Spyglass taps Caviezel for 'Monte Cristo' lead

A Count has been found: Jim Caviezel (“The Thin Red Line”) has closed a deal to play the lead in Disney-based Spyglass Entertainment’s “The Count of Monte Cristo.”

With the lead committed, Spyglass and Disney are fast-tracking the project, with lensing to begin in July in Dublin and the southeast coast of Ireland; pre-production begins immediately. No director or other actors are yet inked, though helmer talks are under way.

Pic, penned by Jay Wolpert from the classic novel by Alexandre Dumas, will be produced by Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber and Jonathan Glickman. Project was brought into Spyglass by veep of production Derek Evans. Buena Vista Motion Picture Group co-presidents Nina Jacobson and Todd Garner are overseeing for the Mouse House.

Spyglass is financing the whole pic and will own the negative; Disney will distribute domestically and in several international territories, with Spyglass handling the rest of the world.

Caviezel next appears in New Line Cinema’s “Frequency,” due in theaters late this month, opposite Dennis Quaid.

Later in the year, he will appear in “Pay It Forward,” with Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment. He also stars in the William Bindley-helmed indie pic “Madison,” about hydroplane boat-racing in the 1970s.

Thesp is said to have been one of the top choices for the romantic male lead in the Michael Bay/Jerry Bruckheimer pic “Pearl Harbor” prior to Ben Affleck’s commitment.

Spyglass’ next release is “Keeping the Faith,” directed by and starring Edward Norton; pic’s due in theaters April 14. Company recently pushed up the release date of Tom Dey’s “Shanghai Noon,” starring Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson and Lucy Liu, to May 26. The film is now poised to go head to head against Paramount’s “Mission: Impossible 2.”

Caviezel’s deal was negotiated by UTA and attorney Frank Stewart; he is managed by Beverlee Dean.

J. Wolpert is repped by Rich Freeman at Writers & Artists and attorney Diane Golden at Katz, Golden and Sullivan.

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