‘Runt’ meets Bizkit man; actors circle ‘Spider’

Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst will speak to his teen/early-20s audience via a new medium: film.

Durst is committed to directing “Runt,” a dark tale following a picked-on high schooler who takes arms against his rivals. The musician is being mentored for his helming debut by David Fincher (the director whose “Seven” and “Fight Club” addressed the disenfranchised 20something crowd). The script was written by William J. Coakley and Christian Van Gregg; Fincher will likely produce with Michael London and Amy Brown.

The project is about to be shopped for a distributor and financier so Durst can begin production in the fall. First, he will do a quick tour to promote Limp Bizkit’s next album, which the band is finishing for July 4 release. It’s a big one for Interscope, after the last disc, “Significant Other,” sold 5.6 million copies.

They also recorded the theme for “Mission: Impossible 2.” Durst is a 29-year old former pro skateboarder and tattoo artist who also is senior VP at Interscope Records.

Durst has helmed numerous visually-distinctive videos for his band and others that include Korn, and he has logged about one dozen four-hour skull sessions with Fincher in which they’ve broken down the script. Durst knows exactly what he wants to do and how to do it.

Given the subject matter (with its obvious parallels to the Columbine tragedy), the $10 million pic might be more appropriate for an indie than a major.

Because Fincher has a producing deal at New Line with Art Linson, that studio will get first crack, though other suitors are lined up. One enticement is that the soundtrack will be done by Limp Bizkit and/or Korn.

Durst got involved through his manager, the Firm’s Aaron Ray, who got the script from Brown and enlisted London (who was already aligned with Fincher on “Passengers,” a drama that is among several candidates for Fincher’s next directing slot). London, who put Durst and Fincher together, is about to begin production on “40 Days and 40 Nights,” the Michael Lehmann-directed comedy scripted by Rob Perez for Working Title that will star Katie Holmes and Ashton Kutcher as a coproduction between Miramax and Universal, the price Miramax extracted for allowing Kutcher out of a film commitment.

Miramax will take domestic distribution.

Durst is repped by CAA and the Firm; scribes Coakley and Van Gregg are repped by Writers & Artists.

ANGELS LOSING HALOS? Devilish doings on the “Charlie’s Angels” set? That’s the word circulating in Hollywood after a spirited argument last week between Bill Murray and Lucy Liu. While rumors had Liu taking a swing at Murray, sources said the salvos exchanged were strictly verbal. Liu apparently questioned the writing of a scene with Murray, who took loud umbrage. Liu fired back, and suddenly all the castmembers fled for their trailers. Shooting ended for the day, but Liu, Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz met with Murray and director McG the next day, and they’ve been back filming for days since then. The pic’s on course to open for Thanksgiving release.

LOOSE TALK: After a web of rumors preceded Sam Raimi’s signing as director of Columbia’s “Spider-Man,” it’s no surprise they’d be followed by speculation on who’ll sign a three-pic deal to play Peter Parker/Spidey in the Marvel franchise. Dish hears that the lead candidates are “Patriot” star Heath Ledger, Wes Bentley (“American Beauty”), Chris Klein, Tobey Maguire and Ewan McGregor. And don’t forget Leonardo DiCaprio. Col sez no decision yet … While Tom Hanks is being courted for Col’s Spike Jonze-directed “Adaptation,” he’s also being hotly pursued for “The Lookout,” the Scott Frank-scripted and Laurence Mark-produced pic at DreamWorks that will mark the “American Beauty” followup for Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes … The long-simmering feud between Miramax and New Line over colliding Ben Affleck pics “Reindeer Games” and “Boiler Room” is over, courtesy of NL prexy Mike De Luca. While each accused the other studio of invading its early-2000 release pattern, De Luca — who initially lambasted Miramax on the Roughcut website — did a recent mea culpa. “I have since come to learn that not only was I operating half-cocked with incomplete information, I was operating with just absolute dead wrong information,” he wrote. “We indeed made a change in October that I was completely unaware of. I offer my apologies to Miramax. I was the weenie on this one, not the other way around” … When New Line pursued remake rights to the 1956 sci-fi classic “Forbidden Planet,” the studio had James Cameron or Frank Darabont in mind. Darabont’s now in talks to board “Planet” as scripter-director … When this columnist first wrote about WB’s “Ready to Rumble,” reps for fight announcer Michael Buffer were quick to demand a retraction. Buffer owns the phrase he coined when introducing prizefighters, and reps said they’d never allow his catch-phrase to be used for a wrestling movie. Now the movie’s released; why’s it called “Ready to Rumble”? Dish hears that a payment of about $250,000 and a bit part in the pic were contributing factors … Dave Eggers, who has held Hollywood at arm’s length despite interest in his book “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius,” might be ready for his closeup. Dish hears he’ll soon be listening to pitches from filmmakers and producers on how they’d adapt his story of losing both parents to cancer and raising his brother. Eggers just closed a trade paperback deal for his book with Vintage worth $1.5 million, or five times what he got for hardcover. Lit agent Elyse Cheney declined comment on the movie prospects … CAA signed Tom Tykwer, the “Run Lola Run” writer-helmer who was chased by every agency … UTA has signed Clark Gregg, the actor who made a high-profile scripting debut with “What Lies Beneath,” the DreamWorks pic that stars Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer, directed by Bob Zemeckis.

CASTINGS: Morris Chestnut, who last starred in U’s “The Best Man” after debuting in “Boyz N the Hood,” will star in “The Brothers,” a pic quickly mobilizing at Screen Gems with director Gary Hardwick. Chestnut’s agented by Paradigm and managed by Talent Ent. Group (formerly More/Medavoy).

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