Thesp takes directing duties for golf pic

Disney has closed Bill Paxton’s deal to helm “The Greatest Game Ever Played.”

Paxton began eyeing the project in December, but the deal finally closed Friday.

Pic, being produced by Mark Forst and Larry Brezner, is based on the bestselling book “The Greatest Game Ever Played: Harry Vardon, Francis Ouimet and the Birth of Modern Golf.”

It’s the true story of the legendary 1913 U.S. Open, in which 20-year-old Ouimet shocked the golf world by defeating British champion Harry Vardon.

Pic is being overseen at studio by exec VP Jason Reed and is expected to start shooting in the summer.

Paxton previously helmed “Frailty” for Lions Gate, in which he also starred as a father who enlists his two sons for a murderous spree to eradicate demons within people.

Pic reteams Paxton with Disney: He starred in the studio’s “Mighty Joe Young” and in “Spy Kids 2″ and Spy Kids 3D” for Dis-owned Miramax subsid Dimension Films. He also starred in Hollywood Pictures’ “Tombstone.”

Paxton next appears in the horror-comedy “Club Dread” for Fox Searchlight.

Meanwhile, Disney’s “Antarctica,” which was to mark the first directing gig by longtime Disney physical production head Bruce Hendricks, has been put on hold due to budget and location issues.

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