'Spy' thesp does not yet have a prod'n shingle

Eddie Murphy is near a two-year, first-look deal at DreamWorks.

The partnership is a coup for DreamWorks, considering that Murphy has several projects set up at studios across town, but not altogether surprising. Murphy and DreamWorks co-topper Jeffrey Katzenberg have been friends for the past 20 years, since the duo worked together on Paramount’s “Beverly Hills Cop” franchise.

The deal also comes as Murphy has agreed to lend his voice again to “Shrek 2,” the sequel to the studio’s animated 2000 blockbuster. New pic hits screens in 2004. Murphy, who is repped by the William Morris Agency, has no other projects yet set up with the studio.

“I’ve always known about Eddie Murphy as a performer,” said DreamWorks Pictures co-chief Walter Parkes. “But it wasn’t until I sat down with him that I was aware of Eddie Murphy the filmmaker. I was astounded by the number of ideas he has and his understanding of what makes his movies successful. I think it’s going to be a great partnership.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it involves projects in which Murphy would produce and star. The thesp does not yet have a production shingle.

The thesp, who starred in the “The Nutty Professor” and “Dr. Dolittle” franchises for Universal and Fox, will next be seen in Col Pictures’ action comedy “I Spy.” Next year, he stars in Revolution Studios’ laffer “Daddy Day Care.” He is currently shooting Disney’s “Haunted Mansion,” an adaptation of the Mouse House’s theme park ride.

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