Oscar host to join 'Married' helmer Levy

Steve Martin is expected to topline 20th Century Fox’s remake “Cheaper by the Dozen,” which will aim to begin lensing in late March.

Pic will be directed by Shawn Levy, who just helmed “Just Married” — the No. 1 pic of last weekend, opening to a better-than-expected $18 million.

Martin will next star opposite Queen Latifah (“Chicago”) in the Mouse House’s “Bringing Down the House,” and he is slated to host the Academy Awards telecast March 23. There will be little reprieve for the ICM-repped funnyman, who is expected to begin lensing “Cheaper” on March 25.

Original 1950 pic, helmed by Walter Lang and starring Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy, was based on the popular children’s book by Frank B. Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.

Story concerns an efficiency expert father with a dozen rambunctious kids who tries to run his family with the same systems he employs at corporations. His wife, known for being his partner in all things save discipline, both creates problems and solves them.

Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan’s 1492 Prods. is producing the long-gestating project along with Ben Myron. Sitcom veteran Matt Williams (“Roseanne,” “Home Improvement”) had come aboard to helm and exec produce Harper’s draft in December 2001 but ankled the project several months ago.

The 2003 remake will again pair Levy with “Married” scribe Sam Harper, who rewrote the “Cheaper” script.

Meanwhile, Martin is at work on a new novella, “The Pleasure of My Company,” due out in October from Hyperion. Novella is about a man with obsessive compulsive disorder who winds up finding love in unexpected places. His previous novel, “Shopgirl,” was published in October 2000.

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