Helmer makes ‘Exchange’

McTiernan returns to biz after guilty plea

Director John McTiernan is cooperating with the FBI — Film Bridge Intl., that is.

McTiernan is set to helm “Deadly Exchange,” the first directing deal he’s inked since pleading guilty in the Anthony Pellicano scandal. FBI is financing and repping worldwide rights, while Anthony J. Ridio Prods. is producing.

“Deadly Exchange,” from a script by Ron Shusett and Ian Rabin, revolves around a terrorist who goes undetected as he hunts down the FBI agent who assassinated his father 10 years earlier.

With McTiernan attached, the project saw brisk business at the Cannes market, selling off a number of territories. Some international buyers did, however, have to be disabused of the notion that McTiernan — who directed such hit actioners as “Die Hard” and “The Hunt for Red October — was in jail.

Of late, McTiernan has had to reckon with real-life FBI agents.

The biggest Hollywood name so far to be caught up in the Pellicano wiretapping scandal, McTiernan pleaded guilty in April to charges that he lied to FBI agents.

In entering the plea, McTiernan admitted he had asked Pellicano to wiretap producer Charles Roven, with whom he worked on 2002’s “Rollerball.”

Legal observers said McTiernan’s plea agreement with prosecutors signaled he was cooperating with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI in the ongoing Pellicano investigation.

McTiernan is prepping “Deadly Exchange” for a scheduled start later this summer in Shreveport, La.

Anthony J. Ridio produces, with FBI’s Ellen Wander to take an exec producer credit.

At Cannes, Film Bridge sold off Spain, Greece, Russia, the Middle East, Portugal and Eastern Europe.

McTiernan last directed John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson starrer “Basic.”

Shusett’s credits include “Alien,” “Total Recall” and “Alien vs. Predator.”

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