'Ball' helmer to direct AIDS drama 'Dallas'

With two Oscar noms racked up for his pic “Monster’s Ball,” Marc Forster’s reps have made him a monster’s deal: The Swiss-born helmer will take home seven figures to direct “Dallas Buyers Club” for Universal Pictures.

Project is being produced by “Sling Blade” producer David Bushell, with a script by Craig Borten and Melissa Wallack. Insiders say Brad Pitt has strong interest in toplining the project, but no negotiations have commenced.

The term “Buyers Club” refers to an underground pharmacy that supplies HIV drugs approved for use in other countries and that undercut the prices of FDA approved drugs for people with AIDS thoughout the American south.

“Dallas” tells the story of Ron Woodroof, a redneck electrician who contracted HIV around 1980 and developed full-blown AIDS by 1986.

Woodroof “was told to go home and die,” said Bushell, but instead went on to found one of the most risky and effective AIDS-related disease management efforts at the time. Woodroof tested illegal drugs on himself to prolong his life six years and help thousands of people with AIDS.

But he did not do so altruistically, at least at first.

Woodroof was “as racist and homophobic as they come” according to Borten, who scored an interview with him shortly before he died in 1992 after reading a magazine article about him in U.K. magazine the Independent.

Woodroof’s main motive was profit, and as a heterosexual good ol’ boy, the last thing he was hoping for was to help people whose lifestyles he found somewhere between ridiculous and repugnant. But having lost his family and friends after he was identified HIV positive, Woodroof began his experimentation– and along the way befriended many in the gay community and became a fearless advocate for the HIV positive against a bureacratic Food and Drug Administration.

Project was brought into U by production co-prexy Scott Stuber, who’ll oversee its production. Robbie Brenner, a Miramax veepee who’d shepherded the project when it was set up there years ago, is also expected to produce in some capacity, according to Borten.

Forester was repped in the deal by William Morris and Industry Entertainment; Borten and Wallack were repped by William Morris and are managed by Benderspink.

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