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‘Clearing’ housed at U

Post WWII tale pits privileged brothers against mobsters

Universal Pictures has preemptively purchased “The Clearing,” a sweeping new Knopf novel by Tim Gautreaux. The film will be produced by Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, and Kevin Misher of Misher Films. Liza Chasen will exec produce.

Novel takes place at a lumber mill in the swamps of Louisiana right after WWI with two brothers as central characters. One is a camp constable who took the job after returning from the war to outrun his privileged family past. His brother is sent to the mill because his family is going to buy it. The brothers run smack into a bloody confrontation with a group of mob-connected Sicilians who run a nearby saloon. Hotchkiss & Associates and Sterling Lord repped the author.

Misher last produced “The Rundown” and is prepping upcoming Sydney Pollack-directed Nicole Kidman starrer “The Interpreter”; last week he set up “Void,” a Universal drama to be directed by “Narc” helmer Joe Carnahan, with script by Guillermo Arriaga (“21 Grams”). Bevan and Fellner are about to release “Love Actually” and are in production on the sequel “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.”

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