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Touchstone pitches ‘3000’

Travolta starrer follows in 'Rookie' baseball path

Touchstone Pictures is negotiating with Callie Khouri to direct “Mr. 3000,” and the studio is in early talks with John Travolta to topline as a baseball player who unretires when three of his past base hits are disallowed, dropping him below the esteemed 3,000-hit plateau.

“Mr. 3000” has had several incarnations, first at Paramount and then Disney. Touchstone has fast-tracked the film toward a summer start date, a development that follows the strong tracking results on its upcoming pic “The Rookie,” which stars Dennis Quaid as a 39-year-old pitcher who makes it to the major leagues.

Talks with Travolta are in the early stages, but indications are that if a deal can be made, he’ll star in the film. Travolta has a strong Touchstone history (critically acclaimed “A Civil Action,” blockbuster “Phenomenon”) and he’d look good in a baseball uniform, as evidenced by the svelte physique he displayed presenting alongside Sharon Stone at the Academy Awards.

He’d play a Hall of Famer who, after hanging up his spikes and using his jock career to branch into business, is moved to return to the Detroit Tigers seven years after retirement with the intention of knocking out three base hits. As a player, he had become selfish, surly and so infatuated with his statistics that he retired right after his 3,000th hit. This time, he discovers a love he’d lost for the game as he mentors a rookie. Film is being produced by Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber.

Khouri has long been enamored of the project, ever since she did a rewrite of the Eric Champnella and Keith Mitchell script while the film was at Par. The Oscar-winning “Thelma & Louise” scribe made her directorial debut on the Warner Bros./Gaylord co-production “The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood,” which opens June 7 with a star-studded ensemble that includes Sandra Bullock, Ashley Judd, Ellen Burstyn, Maggie Smith and James Garner.

Travolta recently completed reteaming with “Pulp Fiction” co-star Samuel L. Jackson in the John McTiernan-directed Intermedia/ Phoenix drama “Basic.”

If casting can be secured quickly, Khouri will make “Mr. 3000” her sophomore effort as a helmer.

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