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Duo pairs for ‘Suspicion’

Kaufman, Guare to remake Hitchcock classic

Philip Kaufman will direct and playwright John Guare will pen a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Suspicion” for Dimension Films and RKO.

Joan Fontaine won an actress Oscar for her role in the 1941 RKO pic as the spinster daughter of a wealthy family who marries a popular playboy played by Cary Grant. When it becomes clear he married for the money, she begins to suspect he’s plotting to kill her.

Pic was based on the novel “Before the Fact,” by Frances Iles.

When Kaufman and Guare came onboard, there was already a script for a remake by Michael Browning. But Dimension and RKO opted to start with a new one that Guare will set in San Francisco, the city where Kaufman’s Walrus & Associates shingle is based. Kaufman and Guare are repped by ICM.

RKO Pictures head Ted Hartley will produce with Wendy Finerman and Peter Kaufman.

Philip Kaufman has a crowded slate, having just signed on to direct “Prison Fish” for Phoenix Pictures (Daily Variety, Aug. 22). Guare has just started on the script, but Peter Kaufman, the director’s son and producing partner, said he hopes the project will go forward within a year.

“This is a high-priority project for Dimension and the combination of Phil and John is perfect for this thriller,” said Dimension topper Bob Weinstein.

Dimension’s keen interest may stem in part from the success it’s currently enjoying with “The Others,” a ghost story with Hitchcockian psychological elements.

“I loved the original movie and think it’s appropriate for today’s audiences,” Weinstein said of “Suspicion.” “It has that old-fashioned feel, with the theme of deception vs. suspicion.”

At RKO, veep of development Julia Halperin will oversee production, which will be based at the company’s L.A. office. The project was brought into Dimension by co-heads of production Andrew Rona and Brad Weston, and director of production Jesse Berdinka. They’ll oversee the pic with senior veep of development and production Michael Zoumas.

Guare is currently writing the book for the Broadway musical “The Sweet Smell of Success,” a project that Miramax is producing.

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