Thesp to topline DreamWorks' 'Act'

Halle Berry has signed on to star in “Class Act” for DreamWorks, and Doug Atchison has come on board to write and direct the true life tale.

Berry will play Tierney Cahill, a teacher from Reno, Nev., who took a challenge from her sixth-grade students to run for Congress in the 2000 elections on the condition that they would help run her campaign. The single mother ultimately lost her bid to an incumbent, but she ended up winning 35% of the popular vote.

Casting is a unique move for Hollywood, in that Cahill is a white woman. A source close to the film said that when actresses were being bandied about, they felt it was more important to find the right actress to play the role rather than the right white actress.

Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas is producing for the studio with Underground Films.

DreamWorks recently picked up the project in turnaround from Revolution Studios with the goal of putting it into production in May or June.

Berry recently worked with Goldsmith-Thomas on the adult thriller “Perfect Stranger” which is in post-production for a May release from Sony; and Berry is currently in business with DreamWorks, starring in the studio’s drama “Things We Lost In the Fire” which is lensing.

Goldsmith-Thomas will produce through her shingle along with Underground’s Nick Osborne and Trevor Engelson. Berry and her manager Vincent Cirrincione are expected to receive executive producer credit on pic.

Underground recently signed a production deal with the Weinstein Co. and has “License to Wed” in theaters in July from Warner Bros. Pictures.

Berry is repped by ICM and manager Vincent Cirrincione. Atchison is repped by ICM and managed by Lou Pitt at the Pitt Group.

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