Helmer Gray accepts new ‘Job’ at Par

Script to retool 1969 Caine, Coward pic

F. Gary Gray has signed a seven-figure deal to direct the remake of “The Italian Job” for producer Donald De Line and Paramount Pictures.

Project is slated to start production July 22 for a planned summer 2003 release.

With a script penned by Donna and Wayne Powers, “The Italian Job” is a modern-day retooling of the 1969 classic heist movie that starred Michael Caine as Charlie Croker, Noel Coward as Mr. Bridger and Benny Hill as Professor Simon Peach. Original pic told the story of a bungled, high-risk heist undertaken in Italy under the nose of the Mafia.

The 1969 version features one of the most famous celluloid car chases, featuring the Mini Cooper, two Jaguars and a bus, as Croker manages to bring traffic to a standstill in Turin attempting to steal the gold and escape.

Though execs were unwilling to unveil plot twists in the new version, feature will start in Italy and wind up in Los Angeles.

Gray, repped by WMA, most recently directed New Line’s “Diablo,” starring Vin Diesel, Larenz Tate and Timothy Olyphant. Other directing credits include “The Negotiator,” “Set It Off” and “Friday.”

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