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Columbia passes ‘Salt’ to Peter Berg

'Hancock' director in talks for Cruise spy thriller

Peter Berg is in talks to take the directing reins on the Tom Cruise starrer “Edwin A. Salt” for Columbia Pictures.

Terry George had been attached to helm the spy thriller, which is slated to start shooting in June, depending on labor developments.

Berg, who recently wrapped the Will Smith starrer “Hancock” for the studio, met with Cruise to discuss the project, which centers on a CIA officer fingered as a Russian sleeper spy out to assassinate the president. While trying to reunite with his family, he struggles to prove someone else is the traitor. Kurt Wimmer (“The Recruit”) penned the screenplay.

Lorenzo Di Bonaventura is producing “Edwin A. Salt” alongside Sunil Perkash.

Although actor-helmer Berg has never directed Cruise before, the two shared the screen in two recent Cruise vehicles: “Lions for Lambs” and “Collateral.”

If Berg signs on to direct “Edwin A. Salt,” he would prep the pic while doing post-production on “Hancock.” He is expected to deliver his print of “Hancock” in May.

“Edwin A. Salt” will shoot half on stages in L.A. and half on location on the East Coast.

Berg most recently directed “The Kingdom” for Universal Pictures.

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