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Underwood to reserve ‘Hotel’ gig

Thesp could be joined by Roberts, Duchovny, ensemble cast

NEW YORK — Blair Underwood has been set for the male lead in “How to Survive a Hotel Fire” (working title), which Steven Soderbergh will direct for Miramax, with an all-star cast. Underwood will likely be joined by Julia Roberts, David Duchovny, David Hyde Pierce, Catherine Keener, Mary McCormack and Nicky Katt. Shooting begins Nov. 5 for a film that is eyeing a March 8 release date.

“I play a successful actor who’s being interviewed by a reporter played by Julia,” said Underwood. “There is sexual chemistry between them, and with each scene between the two, you realize they’re making a movie. It’s an incredible cast, and what’s remarkable is that it will be done on a low budget and will be turned around so quickly for release on March 8.”

Soderbergh takes the film coming off his Oscar-winning effort “Traffic,” “Erin Brockovich” and the recently completed “Ocean’s Eleven,” the latter two of which starred Roberts. Soderbergh wrote the script for the film, whose title will certainly be changed.

Underwood takes the job after completing a starring role in the indie drama “G.” He’s currently shooting indie “Final Breakdown,” directed by Jeffrey Byrd, in which the thesp plays a crooked cop on the take; Regina King co-stars.

From there, Underwood hopes to mount his directorial debut, “My Soul to Keep,” a supernatural thriller he cooked up last year with producer Tim Reid that is an adaptation of the Tananarive Due novel.

“My character is a 500-year-old Ethiopian who is immortal in a movie that has an epic feel like the ‘Highlander’ films,” said Underwood. “We have already shot the footage in Ethiopia and are ready to get started on the rest.”

Underwood is repped by WMA.

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