Duo to star in Columbia Pictures comedy

Ben Stiller and Reese Witherspoon will star in an untitled Cameron Crowe romantic comedy adventure at Columbia Pictures.

Columbia was the winning bidder, beating out four rival studios, in landing the fully developed project, which is being produced by Scott Rudin. Crowe, who wrote the screenplay, is also producing.

Studio is keeping the logline of the contemporary-set project under wraps.

Project reunites Crowe with Columbia for the first time since the helmer’s “Almost Famous” in 2000. Crowe and studio topper Amy Pascal have a long-standing relationship that dates back to the filmmaker’s 1989 “Say Anything,” when Pascal was an executive at 20th Century Fox. Crowe made “Jerry Maguire” — his biggest box office success — for Sony.

Film, which will begin lensing in January when Stiller and Witherspoon’s schedules open, brings together Rudin and Crowe for the first time. Columbia’s move is reminiscent of Pascal outbidding several other parties in February to make Roland Emmerich’s pricey “2012.” Once again, Columbia is ponying up a sizable sum to add an instant slot-filler to its slate.

Stiller next will be seen in the August comedy “Tropic Thunder,” which he also co-wrote, produced and directed. He is shooting “Night at the Museum 2: Escape From the Smithsonian.”

Witherspoon’s upcoming projects include “Four Christmases,” opposite Vince Vaughn. She is voicing characters for DreamWorks Animation’s “Monsters vs. Aliens.”

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