Fox has designs on ‘Engineer’ thriller

Studio makes use of Kutcher's Katalyst

Twentieth Century Fox has landed “The Engineer,” a pitch to be developed as a star vehicle for Ashton Kutcher.

Mike Finch will write and Jason Goldberg, Kutcher’s partner in Katalyst Prods., will produce.

Script by Finch, who most recently wrote “Adrenaline” for Intermedia, covers 24 frantic hours in the life of an American engineer in Tokyo after he’s labeled a terrorist.

Led by just-promoted veep Autumn Wilner-Herd, Katalyst developed the pitch with Finch over the past 10 months, using thrillers like “North by Northwest” and “Run Lola Run” as inspiration.

Deal marks the second recent big pact for a Kutcher vehicle engineered by Katalyst; Sony paid $2 million for Kevin Bisch comedy “The Arrangement,” with Kutcher to play a florist who specializes in fixing relationships. Katalyst was involved in producing “The Butterfly Effect” and “Guess Who,” along with the TV series “Punk’d.”

Kutcher will next be seen starring with Kevin Costner in “The Guardian,” which Disney opens Sept. 29. He also provides a lead voice for the animated film “Open Season” and has a cameo in “Bobby.”

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