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Roth, Team Todd flip for ‘Tails’

Kaplan, Elfont to direct romantic comedy

Love may be in the air for red-tail hawks after all.

Joe Roth has tapped Peter Speakman and Michael Galvin to adapt “Red Tails in Love,” a long-gestating project he’s now producing with Suzanne and Jennifer Todd, along with Christian McLaughlin.

Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont are directing the romantic comedy, loosely based on a 1998 nature tome by Wall Street Journal scribe Marie Winn. The scribes began developing the project two years ago, after McLaughlin brought it to them.

At that point, Nora Ephron had already made a pass at adapting the book about red-tail hawks that nested in a posh building neighboring Central Park. Her adaptation was set up at Columbia.

The producer-scribes decided to use Winn’s tome — and New Yorkers’ fascination with the hawks — as an inspiration for a story about love among Gotham birdwatchers, traveling to the city to spend time among the group before penning their draft.

“We both lived in New York — we went to NYU — and we know how isolating the city can be,” Kaplan said. “This really brought a bunch of people together.”

Kaplan points out that Speakman and Galvin, having already written scripts about racewalkers and Scrabble tournaments, are the right guys to write about the various subcultures vying with birdwatchers in Central Park.

Elfont and Kaplan have been busy with other writing projects in the two years since optioning the book with McLaughlin. They scripted “Made of Honor,” a romantic comedy now lensing for Columbia, and co-wrote “99 Problems,” a project Roth has set up at Columbia, where Roth has a first-look deal (Daily Variety, April 16). They did a rewrite of “Sisters of Mercy” for Overbrook Entertainment, Will Smith’s Col-based shingle with James Lassiter, and a rewrite of “The Bachelorette” for Universal.

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