Von Donnersmarck eyeing presidential drama

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck is in talks to direct Warner Bros. drama “The 28th Amendment,” which has emerged as a strong contender to be one of Tom Cruise’s next star vehicles.

The German helmer hasn’t directed a film since his 2006 pic “The Lives of Others” won the foreign-language film Oscar, and he recently signed with UTA to move into Hollywood films.

According to sources, the filmmaker is in talks with the studio to make the movie with Cruise. “Star Trek” scribes Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, the duo that originated the project as a spec in 1999, are rewriting the script.

The drama revolves around a U.S. president who discovers the existence of a secret cabal that runs the government and wants him dead.

Basil Iwanyk and Richard Donner are producers.

Cruise had been mentioned as being keen on the movie last year, possibly to pair with Denzel Washington, but chatter on the film died down.

Cruise came off “Valkyrie” with an aggressive mission to find new projects — he is currently considering five different pictures for two potential 2009 slots — but “28th Amendment” recently emerged as a strong candidate, its chances helped by the highly regarded von Donnersmarck.

Among the other projects Cruise is considering is MGM’s “The Matarese Circle”; Spyglass’ “The Tourist”; DreamWorks’ “Motorcade”; Fox’s “Wichita”; and Universal/Working Title’s “Lost for Words.”

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