'Dangerous' script has languished for years

HOLLYWOOD — Johnny Depp is in final negotiations to topline “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” a biopic based on the autobiography of Chuck Barris, the host of “The Gong Show” who claimed to moonlight as a CIA spook.

George Clooney is in negotiations to co-star opposite Depp, who will play Barris, with Clooney taking the role of CIA recruiting agent Jim Byrd. Renaissance Films will finance the pic, which is expected to go into production in the first quarter.

Pic will be helmed by Bryan Singer (“X-Men”) and produced by Andrew Lazar’s Mad Chance Prods. Charlie Kaufman (“Being John Malkovich”) adapted the screenplay.

Decade to develop

A deal with the actors would close the long saga of “Confessions,” a project that has spent a decade attracting admirers but no patrons willing to pull the trigger. The project gathered momentum four years ago when Kaufman came aboard to pen the script.

Most recently, Mike Myers eyed the Barris role with the current financiers, but finally passed on it last month (Daily Variety, Dec. 11, 2000).

Pic is budgeted in the $30 million-$35 million range, with Renaissance holding international rights. No domestic deal is in place.

Rand Ravich will serve as executive producer on the project with Renaissance’s joint managing directors Stephen Evans and Angus Finney.

Depp is repped by UTA, Clooney by CAA.

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