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U steps into the ‘Void’

Carnahan set for Arriaga cop script

Universal Pictures has tapped Joe Carnahan to direct “Void,” a gritty crime drama that has just been set at the studio by producer Kevin Misher.

Script will be penned by Guillermo Arriaga, who wrote the Sean Penn/Naomi Watts starrer “21 Grams.”

The contemporary drama centers on a female Chicago homicide cop who arrives at a prison to provide transfer for a dangerous criminal she helped put behind bars. Events get in the way of a clean transfer. Script bears the moral ambiguities and gritty danger evident in Carnahan’s breakout film “Narc.” That’s because Carnahan hatched the story and tried to script the drama 15 years ago.

“It was the first script I wrote, but I was only 18 and it turned out just horribly, a train wreck,” said Carnahan, who is prepping “Mission: Impossible 3” for a 2004 start. “I always loved the idea behind that script. Getting Guillermo to take a whack at it is the most exciting part of this.”

Arriaga is the Mexican author who worked with director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu on “Amores Perros” and then “21 Grams.” To Carnahan and Misher, Arriaga’s films demonstrated an ability to weave divergent stories together that heightens suspense and keeps audiences guessing about the true motives of the characters. That is the core of “Void.”

Deals are being made by Carnahan’s Endeavor/360 Management reps and Arriaga’s UTA reps. Carnahan will look to do the film after “MI: 3,” the Paramount tentpole that goes into production next year with Tom Cruise starring and producing.

“Void” was brought in by Misher Films exec Savannah Neely. U’s Mary Parent and Dylan Clark are supervising. Misher just produced “The Rundown,” and he is prepping the Sydney Pollack-directed “The Interpreter,” with Nicole Kidman starring.

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