Ratner to helm drama starring Murphy, Rock

Imagine Entertainment has set Brett Ratner to helm an untitled heist drama being planned as a screen vehicle for Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock. Scribes Adam Cooper and Bill Collage are negotiating to write the screenplay. Brian Grazer will produce.

Project will mark Imagine’s second heist pic at Universal, with Spike Lee-directed drama “The Inside Man” currently in production with Denzel Washington, Clive Owen and Jodie Foster.

New project, about a couple of blue-collar guys who aspire to pull off the perfect heist, will be played for laughs. Plot came out of a meeting between Grazer and Murphy, who’ve collaborated in the past on such pics as “The Nutty Professor” and “Bowfinger.”

Murphy hatched the idea and expressed a desire to work with Rock, who is coming off “The Longest Yard” and voicing “Madagascar.” They enlisted Ratner, who’s directed buddy comedies “Rush Hour” and “Money Talks.”

The scribes just worked on the U pics “Accepted” and “Once in a Lifetime,” and they will pen the heist pic while Ratner directs the third installment of the “X-Men” franchise for 20th Century Fox.

Project will be overseen by Imagine’s James Whitaker, Kim Roth and Chris Wade and U’s Donna Langley and Dylan Clark.

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