Studio ordering more 'Italian' for late 2005

Paramount Pictures is in negotiations to bring back “The Italian Job” stars Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Seth Green, Mos Def and Jason Statham for the sequel being developed by producer John Goldwyn.

Though the script isn’t finished, the goal is to start lensing in late March for a November 2005 release. F. Gary Gray, who directed last year’s remake of the 1969 original, will be the first choice to helm the sequel.

The sequel script is being penned by Wayne and Donna Powers, the husband-and-wife team who wrote the remake and set it in Venice and Hollywood. Primary locations in the sequel are expected to be St. Tropez, Paris and the French Alps.

Wahlberg will be seen next in Fox Searchlight’s “I Heart Huckabees.” Theron is onscreen in Sony Classics’ “Head in the Clouds” and is toplining Par/MTV’s “Aeon Flux,” which has been on hiatus since Aug. 31 while she recupes from an injury.

The original “Italian Job” starred Michael Caine in a scheme to steal $4 million in gold by causing a huge traffic jam in Turin; the remake turned on a gang of thieves led by Wahlberg rigging stoplights in Los Angeles to produce a massive traffic tie-up to steal a safe full of gold.

Par co-president Donald De Line produced the 2003 film — the studio’s top domestic grosser last year with $106 million — while Goldwyn held the top production post at the studio. Goldwyn ankled late last year to become a producer for Paramount and De Line replaced him.

Goldwyn also is developing half a dozen Par projects — David Grann’s “City of Water,” Alexandra Robbins’ “Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities,” Sabin Willett’s “Present Value” and Lorne Michaels projects “Curly Oxide and Vic Thrill,” “Sebastian Knight” and “Mall Cops.”

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