James Gray will direct last year's blacklist selection

Brad Pitt is negotiating for the lead in New Regency’s “The Gray Man,” based on an Adam Cozad script about a wayward assassin from last year’s Black List.

James Gray will helm “Gray Man,” described as a character piece about the world’s greatest assassin (Pitt), burned and on the run when his last job goes bad.

If the deal closes, Pitt would make the film after “World War the story of a United Nations staffer in a race against time to stop a zombie pandemic, which Paramount plans to open Dec. 21, 2012.

“The Gray Man” is an adaptation from Mark Greaney’s debut thriller of the same name. Michelle Kroes brought the tome to New Regency, where Navid McIlhargey is overseeing the project.

Stephen Garrett will produce “Gray Man” for Shine under the company’s overall deal with New Regency. Dede Gardner will also produce through Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment.

Pitt and Gray have wanted to work together for some time. In 2008, Pitt was reportedly attached to star in Gray’s actioner “The Lost City of Z,” but the movie has not yet materialized at Paramount.

Pitt also starred in New Regency’s “Fight Club” and “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” which cumed more than $430 million worldwide.

Fox released New Regency’s “Monte Carlo” in July and will unspool the company’s upcoming films “What’s Your Number?” in September, “In Time” in October and “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked” in December. Summit will also unspool New Regency’s “The Darkest Hour” in December.

Gray most recently wrote and directed “We Own the Night” and “Two Lovers.”

It’s unclear when “Gray” will begin filming, since Pitt’s partner, Angelina Jolie, is attached to “Maleficent” at Disney, and sources say the couple prefer not to shoot movies simultaneously. But the filmmakers are targeting a February/March start date.

Cozad’s work on “Gray Man” led New Regency to hire the scribe for the Joe Kosinski-helmed sci-fi thriller “Archangel.”

CAA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners rep Pitt.

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