Stephen Hopkins, whose HBO movie “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers” screens here in competition Friday, has committed to direct “Me Again” for Beryl Vertue’s Hartswood Films.
Summit Entertainment will co-finance the pic with longtime backers Intermedia and BBC Films.
The amnesia thriller has an original screenplay by Vertue’s son-in-law, Steven Moffat, best known for penning BBC sitcom “Coupling” (also produced by Hartswood).
“Me Again” has a convoluted development history. Originally set in Blighty, it was rewritten as an American movie when Bruce Willis decided he wanted to star. Intermedia set it up last year as a $75 million production, to be directed by Dean Parisot, with Diane Lane co-starring. But pre-production stalled when Willis dropped out in April 2003.
Intermedia was subsequently sued by Lane over its alleged failure to honor her $2.7 million pay-or-play deal, but that suit was recently settled.
Vertue and Moffat set about reworking it as a $25 million British movie in December. Intermedia still wanted to be involved and agreed to a deal to write off a significant part of the heavy turnaround costs so that the project could move forward.
“I couldn’t be more pleased that we are back where we were in the first place,” Vertue said. Hopkins was one of the first directors Vertue and Moffat thought of for the project, before its ill-fated American diversion.
“What had caught our eye was what he had done on ’24,’ which had real style and felt so different,” Vertue said. “That was even before he did ‘Peter Sellers,’ which is wonderful, too. We thought he would bring some of that style to ‘Me Again.'”
It’s the story of a man who wakes up in a hotel room with no memory and a dead body in the room. He must figure out if he’s a hitman or the undercover cop assigned to take down the assassin.
Hopkins described pic as a light romantic-comedy thriller. “Comedy is something I’m terrified of, so I’d like to try my hand at that,” he said.
Intermedia chairman Moritz Borman and the BBC’s David Thompson are exec producing.
Hopkins said he hopes to start shooting the pic in September in the U.K.