Donner party to Par’s pitch

Gibson to star in character-driven drama

In a seven-figure deal, Paramount Pictures has purchased the pitch “Sam and George” from screenwriter Dean Georgaris, with Mel Gibson attached to star and Richard Donner onboard to direct, pending script approval.

The subject matter of the untitled, modern-day, character-driven drama is being kept under wraps, but sources indicated pic will be in a similar vein to “The Fisher King,” centered on the emotional and psychological journey of two men who become friends.

As part of the seven-figure deal, Georgaris has sealed a blind script commitment from the studio for another project.

Lauren Shuler Donner and the Donners Co. will produce as part of a three-year overall production deal with Winchester Films in conjunction with Gibson and Bruce Davey’s Par-based shingle Icon Prods. The Donners Co. prexy of production Michael Aguilar will share producing credit with Shuler Donner on the project.

Paramount’s motion picture group prexy John Goldwyn, senior vp Chip Diggins and vp Alex Young will oversee project with Aguilar.

Pitch will mark the first reteaming of the ICM-repped Gibson and WMA-repped Donner since “Lethal Weapon IV.” Aside from that actioner franchise, Gibson and Donner worked on pics including “Conspiracy Theory” and “Maverick.”

Georgaris also is adapting Jody Shields’ novel “The Fig Eater,” in active development at Miramax Films for producer Richard Gladstein (“The Manchurian Candidate” remake). His other projects include “Paycheck” at Paramount and “Tristan & Isolde” for Scott Free Prods.

Icon recently produced for Paramount “We Were Soldiers,” directed by Randall Wallace, with Gibson toplining.

Shuler Donner, whose track record includes features “You’ve Got Mail,” “Any Given Sunday” and “X-Men,” is prepping the Bryan Singer-directed “X-Men” sequel, being scripted by Zak Penn and David Hayter for a February start.

She also is developing the Warner Bros. actioner “Constantine,” based on the DC Comics character Hellblazer, which Tarsem (“The Cell”) is directing. Donner Co. and Shuler Donner also are teamed on Michael Crichton’s “Timeline” for APG and Par.

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