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Levy homes in on Fox

Helmer hangs hat, 'Night' at studio

Director Shawn Levy has established 21 Laps and staked the production company to a two-year first-look deal at 20th Century Fox. Deal comes as the studio sets Levy to direct “A Night at the Museum.”

Levy’s 21 Laps will produce that comedy alongside Chris Columbus and his 1492 Prods. Scripted by Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant, and rewritten by Scott Frank, project centers on a guard at a natural history exhibit who triggers an ancient curse that animates the long-dead creatures inhabiting the museum.

The film division will be run by newly named president of production Tom McNulty, who comes from Happy Madison. He and VP Gene Roepke will develop comedies for Levy to produce and possibly direct. Company’s first credit will come on “Cheaper by the Dozen 2,” an Adam Shankman-directed Fox sequel to the Levy-helmed remake. Sequel will bow Dec. 21.

After directing “Big Fat Liar” and “Just Married,” Levy most recently helmed Sony’s remake of “The Pink Panther,” starring Steve Martin and Beyonce Knowles.

Levy said the first-look deal came out of the strong relationship he has built with Fox and an exec team led by president Hutch Parker.

“There’s a creative shorthand, a collaborative process that’s empowering and successful,” Levy said.

Levy’s 21 Laps also has a Fox-based TV division run by vice president J.J. Klein. Unit gets under way with the Fox-produced series “Pepper Dennis” for the WB. Levy directed the pilot and will be exec producer of the series, which stars Rebecca Romijn. They’ve also sold “Desire Jones,” an hourlong dramedy Dan Bucatinsky is writing for Fox.

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