Back into the ‘Blue’

'Crush' helmer dives into underwater pic

“Blue Crush” helmer John Stockwell is in negotiations to dive back into the director’s chair for “Into the Blue,” an MGM and Mandalay Pictures underwater action adventure set in South Florida.

At the same time, director has ankled New Line film “After the Sunset,” all parties citing that venerable collaboration crusher, “creative differences.” Pic stars Pierce Brosnan and Salma Hayek.

“Into the Blue” has been in development for some time at MGM, based on an original script by Matt Johnson (“Torque”). Film, said to be reminiscent of Jacqueline Bisset-Nick Nolte drama “The Deep,” follows conflict between young vacationers and treasure hunters when they discover a deadly wreck at sea.

MGM and Mandalay are trying to pull the project together in time for a fall shoot in Florida and the Caribbean.

It will mark a return to the deep for multihyphenate Stockwell, who wrote and directed 2002 surfer girl cult fave “Blue Crush” and 1987’s “Under Cover.”

Stockwell also directed “Crazy/Beautiful,” adapted the “Artemis Fowl” children’s books for the screen and acted in “Top Gun,” “Eddie and the Cruisers,” “Billionaire Boys Club” and “Nixon,” among other film and TV projects.

Studio had hoped to get Paul Walker into the wetsuit for the project, but his participation is now seen as unlikely.

MGM exec VP of production Elizabeth Cantillon and creative exec Erik Baiers are supervising “Blue” for the studio. Mandalay’s Peter Guber will produce.

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