James Mangold to direct ‘Words’

Project among first from Gertz's Lime Orchard

James Mangold is attached to direct an adaptation of the memoir “Three Little Words,” which is among the first projects to come from Lime Orchard Prods., the shingle recently launched by thesp Jami Gertz.

Cathy Konrad is onboard to produce “Words,” a 2008 memoir by Ashley Rhodes-Courter about her traumatic childhood in foster care, through Konrad and Mangold’s Tree Line Film banner along with Lime Orchard.

Gertz formed Lime Orchard last fall and tapped ICM alum Stacey Lubliner to serve as prexy. Another project the company recently set up is a high school-based comedy for Disney Channel from “Lizzie McGuire” scribe Melissa Gould. It’s tentatively titled “I Wanted Zac, But I Got Jack Black.”

Gertz has so far funded Lime Orchard’s operations, including its Century City office space, out of her own pocket. After more than 20 years as a thesp, she’s focused on branching out as a producer rather than strictly looking for her own starring vehicles. (The Lime Orchard moniker comes from the name of an L.A. street where Gertz once lived.)

“For so long I’ve watched movies and TV shows and thought, ‘This character should be doing this and this movie didn’t work because that arc wasn’t working,’ and finally I decided to put my money where my mouth was and get creative,” Gertz said.

Gertz, who’s now in the midst of a four-episode run on HBO’s “Entourage,” most recently co-starred in the 2002-06 CBS laffer “Still Standing.”

Gertz was introduced to Lubliner, a former ICM lit agent, through a mutual friend, ICM’s Toni Howard, who reps Gertz as a thesp. Gertz knew she’d need a partner with dealmaking experience if the company was going to get serious about optioning books and commissioning scripts. She met with a number of people but clicked immediately with Lubliner.

“Jami has a broad vision for this company,” Lubliner said. “We’re fortunate to be working with topnotch people.”

Mangold and Konrad brought the Rhodes-Courter memoir to Gertz shortly after she hung out her shingle. She and Lubliner fell for the book and optioned the pic rights as one of their first bits of business.

“This is a real passion project for them,” Gertz said. “It’s a great way for me to learn how you get from A to B to Z on a film like this.”

Among other projects in the hopper, “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” scribe Morgan Murphy is penning an hourlong TV script about a band’s journey from high school to rock stardom.

Feature scribe Chap Taylor (“Changing Lanes”) is working on a script for a TV drama. And the company has optioned the novel “Funny Boys,” by “The War of the Roses” author Warren Adler.

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