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Watts wears Verbinski’s ‘Ring’ for DreamWorks

Kruger to adapt remake of Japanese urban legend

Hot off an acclaimed performance in David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive,” Naomi Watts will next star in “The Ring,” the Gore Verbinski-directed DreamWorks remake of the 1998 Japanese horror film “Ringu.”

The original was based on a series of novels by Suzuki Koji about a journalist who is investigating an urban legend about a cursed videotape said to kill anyone who views it. The film broke Japanese box office records, and DreamWorks paid $1 million to outbid Disney for the remake rights, with Ehren Kruger adapting the script.

Verbinski agreed to make the film his follow-up to the DreamWorks comedy “The Mexican,” and with few studios greenlighting films, “The Ring” has been a focus of intense competition as young actresses vied for the lead.

Watts is a relative newcomer who toplined “Mulholland Drive” when it was originally conceived to be the pilot for a series by “Twin Peaks” impresario Lynch. When that plan stalled, Lynch turned it into a feature instead. The movie won him director kudos at the Cannes Film Festival.

For Watts, the film is a potential star-making turn.

Watts’ reps at CAA and Untitled Entertainment are negotiating a deal that will have her sized for “The Ring” as soon as she completes “Plots With a View,” a comedy starring Alfred Molina, Christopher Walken and Brenda Blethyn.

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