‘Buffy’ star to study ‘Abroad’

Comedy follows Queens tough girl who moves to Blighty

David Friendly and Marc Turtletaub’s Deep River Prods. has acquired Nina Colman’s comedy pitch “A Semester Abroad” to develop for “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” topliner Sarah Michelle Gellar.

With the venerable “Buffy” nearing the end of its run, Gellar has expressed a desire to focus on features, and “Abroad” seems to be a likely candidate to be her first project during the show’s next and presumably final hiatus in 2003.

Colman, repped by the Genesis percentery, has worked on drafts of “The First Daughter,” set up at New Regency; “Breaking the Girl” at indie Myriad; and “The It Girl” for Village Roadshow.

“Abroad” is a fish-out-of-water comedy that follows a tough girl from Queens on scholarship to a elite London university, where her no-nonsense demeanor puts her at odds with its stuffed-shirt denizens.

Deep River’s David Higgins brought the project into the company, where it will be produced by Turtletaub and Friendly.

Former MGM theatrical production exec Kahli Small developed the project while heading production at the now-dissolved Key Entertainment and will exec produce the pic.

Only last month, Deep River set up its first project since its formation in October 2000, partnering with Intermedia Films and Pierce Brosnan’s Irish Dreamtime Prods. to produce the romantic comedy “Laws of Attraction,” with a fall production start planned. A May start for “Abroad” is the goal.

Backed by Turtletaub, the former president of now-defunct home equity lender the Money Store, Deep River provides development coin for film projects.

Gellar most recently laid aside her “Buffy” vampire stake to topline in Warner Bros.’ “Scooby-Doo” and also appeared in James Toback’s 2001 pic “Harvard Man.” She is being repped in the deal by ICM.

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