Universal sets story of refugee kids' team

Audrey Wells has signed on to write and direct Universal Pictures’ “The Fugees.”

Based on a true story, project centers on a youth soccer club made up of international refugees who settled in Clarkston, Ga.

U nabbed rights to make a feature about the Fugees in January 2007 by plunking down $2 million against $3 million for Warren St. John’s New York Times article about the team and for the subsequent book it spawned.

As a writer and director, Wells is known for depicting strong female protagonists, and “The Fugees” would be no exception. At the center of the story is the team’s coach, Luma Mufleh. As part of the 2007 deal, studio picked up her life rights.

Scott Stuber is producing through his U-based shingle alongside Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall. Tom Lassally is exec producing.

The feel-good story detailed the unlikely success of the ragtag bunch of kids from global hotspots including Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, Burundi, Congo, Liberia, Somalia and Sudan. Andrea Berloff penned an earlier draft of the script.

Though Wells is active as a screenwriter, she hasn’t helmed a pic since 2003′s “Under the Tuscan Sun.” She is attached to direct a number of pics including U’s “My Name Is Jody Williams,” which Naomi Watts will topline.

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