Friedkin, Seven Arts circle Collins’ Mideast material

Director may helm Dearden-penned adaptation of 'O Jerusalem!'

Bestselling novelist Larry Collins’ dispatches from the Middle East are growing hotter in New York and Hollywood.

William Friedkin is in discussions with Seven Arts Pictures to direct “O Jerusalem!,” Collins’ 1972 account of the 1948 war between Arabs and Jews. Seven Arts chair Peter M. Hoffman told Daily Variety that he is in the midst of deciding what to do with the first draft of the screenplay, penned by James Dearden (“Fatal Attraction”). Seven Arts has a nonexclusive first-look deal with Paramount.

Meanwhile, publisher Harcourt Brace has just bought Collins’ as-yet-untitled nonfiction chronicle of the ongoing peace negotiations. Book, which marks the writer’s return to nonfiction after 15 years, has already sold in France and Spain. The net advance from all three countries is nearly $1 million.

Collins, who has written three No. 1 New York Times bestsellers, including “O Jerusalem!,” is repped by Alan Nevins, a partner at Renaissance, a division of AMG. Collins’ editor at Harcourt Brace is Walter Bode.

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