‘Basic’ pairs ‘Pulp’ pals

Travolta, Jackson to reteam for military thriller

John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson, both Oscar nominated for their pairing in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction,” are poised to reteam for director John McTiernan and Phoenix Pictures/Intermedia’s military thriller “Basic.”

James Vanderbilt-penned pic, slated to start production in late November, will be produced by Phoenix-based Orbit Entertainment Group and Intermedia, which is fully financing the project.

Suspenser centers around a Drug Enforcement Agency agent who investigates the disappearance of a legendary Army Ranger drill instructor and several cadets.

Pic, a favorite project of Phoenix chairman-CEO Mike Medavoy, previously was close to a go at Columbia Pictures last fall, with Lee Tamahori directing, and Catherine Keener and Benicio Del Toro in the leads.

“Basic” will continue to be steered by Phoenix production veep Brad Fischer, who brought the project to the company. Intermedia partners Nigel Sinclair, Guy East and Moritz Borman are exec producing.

“Pulp Fiction,” which won Tarantino and Roger Avary the original screenplay Oscar, marked a turning point in the careers of Travolta and Jackson, re-establishing the former as an A-list star and kicking off the latter’s rise to stardom.

Jackson, repped by AMG and ICM, also plans to join Vin Diesel in the drama “XXX” for director Rob Cohen and Revolution Studios. “XXX” starts shooting in late November, but Jackson is expected to be able to manage both roles. He became available when Columbia’s “Tick Tock” was temporarily defused (Daily Variety, Sept. 25).

Travolta, repped by William Morris and manager Jonathan Krane, most recently starred in Warner Bros.’ “Swordfish” opposite Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry for director Dominic Sena. He also stars in the upcoming “Domestic Disturbance” for Paramount.

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