Actor in talks to star in Universal thriller

Denzel Washington is in talks to star in Universal Pictures’ thriller “Safe House.”

The studio made overtures to Washington weeks ago before the death of the thesp’s agent Ed Limato, who died Saturday. But talks ramped up this week between Universal and WME co-CEO Patrick Whitesell, who is running point on Washington’s affairs.

Universal has brought in director Daniel Espinoza to work through a quick rewrite with David Guggenheim, who penned the original script. The idea is the this film will be in production by fall or winter.

Scott Stuber is producing the pic, which centers on a man at a CIA-run safe house who must help a criminal, who’s being kept there, avoid being killed by villains who want the witness dead.

In the wake of Limato’s death, speculation has been mounting about the fate of the agent’s high-profile high-earning clients, including Washington, Mel Gibson and Steve Martin. Though Gibson is expected to exit the agency, WME is pulling out all the stops to keep Washington in its fold.

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