D’Works flies to ‘Used Guys’

Stiller flirts with toplining sci-fi comedy

This article was corrected on Mar. 19, 2002.

DreamWorks has optioned Mickey Birnbaum’s futuristic comedy spec, “Used Guys,” for Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Films. Stiller is flirting with a starring role in the pic.

A buddy sci-fi comedy set in a near-future L.A. in which women buy and trade men like used cars, pic was originally written in 1998 and recently put into turnaround at Columbia.

DreamWorks has paid $2 million for the property plus costs run up against it at Columbia. Birnbaum stands to earn north of $2 million if the pic is produced and performs well, and Columbia retains the right to co-produce.

Columbia optioned “Used Guys” for studio-based shingle Tall Trees. When the option lapsed, Red Hour producers Stiller and Stuart Cornfeld came onboard, raising pic’s profile considerably. They’re developing it with DreamWorks’ Mike De Luca.

Birnbaum’s lucrative writer’s fee also points to an uptick in the spec market as the town rebounds from its post-strike deadline torpor.

Birnbaum, a playwright and screenwriter, boasts such screen credits as the 1995 Wesley Strick feature “The Tie That Binds,” penned under the name Michael Auerbach (Birnbaum changed his name after finding his birth father). He’s repped by the Bohrman Agency and Mark S. Temple.

Dreamworks optioned Michael Birnbaum’s screenplay “Used Guys” for Red Hour Films for less than seven figures. Information was incorrect in the March 11-17 issue.

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