Payne directing family dramedy for Fox

George Clooney is circling the lead in the Alexander Payne-helmed family dramedy “The Descendants” for Fox Searchlight.

The actor, who is currently shooting Anton Corbijn-directed thriller “The American,” is in talks to topline “Descendants,” which centers on a wealthy landowner who takes his two daughters on a search for his wife’s lover in the hopes of keeping his family together.

Project, which marks Payne’s first feature in five years, is scheduled to begin lensing in February in Hawaii. “Descendants” would rep the first collaboration between Clooney and Payne.

Screenplay, which is based on Kaui Hart Hemmings’ debut novel of the same name, was penned by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash.

Payne, Jim Burke and Jim Taylor are producing through their shingle Ad Hominem.

Clooney, who last starred in “Burn After Reading,” has three films set for release in the coming weeks: “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “The Men Who Stare at Goats” and “Up in the Air.”

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