Actress to star in Cassavetes-directed drama

Cameron Diaz will star in “My Sister’s Keeper,” a Nick Cassavetes-directed adaptation of the Jodi Picoult novel for New Line Cinema. Shooting will begin early next year.

The drama was scripted by Jeremy Leven and will be produced by Mark Johnson, both of whom made “The Notebook” with Cassavetes for New Line.

Diaz had been circling the film for weeks, but negotiations have heated up and a deal should be completed shortly.

Thesp will play a former defense attorney who returns to the courtroom to defend herself and her husband when they are sued by their 13-year-old daughter for emancipation. The girl was conceived as a genetic match with the hope she could prolong her cancer-ridden sister’s life.

Johnson most recently produced “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” and he is prepping the Michael Apted-directed “Chronicles of Narnia” sequel “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.”

Diaz, who is currently starring with Ashton Kutcher in the Fox comedy “What Happens in Vegas…” will next star in “The Box,” a Media Rights Capital-financed horror film written and directed by Richard Kelly (“Donnie Darko”). Pic shoots in the fall.

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