Marc Lawrence to direct Columbia comedy

Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant are in negotiations to star in an untitled Marc Lawrence-helmed romantic comedy for Columbia Pictures.

Thesps would star as an estranged high-powered New York couple who witness a murder and are placed in a witness-protection program in a small Wyoming town. Lawrence penned the screenplay.Film would mark the third time Grant has collaborated with director Lawrence on a romantic comedy, after “Music and Lyrics” and “Two Weeks Notice.”

Lawrence’s script, formerly known as “Buffalo Faith,” was originally set up at Castle Rock Entertainment, which had tapped Andrew Fleming (“Hamlet 2″) to direct. Sony picked up the project — now with Lawrence attached to helm — in turnaround and is eyeing a March start date. Castle Rock’s Martin Shafer and Liz Glotzer are producing. Melissa Wells (“Music and Lyrics”) co-produces.

Parker, who most recently starred in “Sex and the City” and “Smart People,” is expected to reprise her role as Gotham columnist Carrie Bradshaw in a “Sex” sequel.

Grant, who last appeared onscreen opposite Drew Barrymore in “Music and Lyrics,” is attached to star in a remake of the romantic comedy “Trouble in Paradise” at Universal Pictures.

Lawrence wrote the “Miss Congeniality” films before segueing to directing with “Two Weeks Notice.”

Parker and Grant are repped by CAA. Lawrence is handled by UTA.

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