New LaBeouf project gets Lava flowing

Linde, Metzger line up quirky love story for newly created Lava Bear Films

David Linde, Tory Metzger and Adam Rymer have found the first film to develop under newly created banner Lava Bear Films, attaching Shia LaBeouf to play a giant in an untitled quirky love story.

Gil Kenan (“Monster House”) will direct from a script he wrote. Lava Bear will produce along with the Jim Henson Co. and French vfx company BUF; Lava Bear

prexy Metzger will oversee production.

Lisa Henson, Jason Lust and India Osborne produce. Pierre Buffin is exec producing.

With the working title “A Giant,” pic follows a girl, broke and running from a series of bad relationships, who moves back home to reconnect with her brother. Instead she forms a relationship with a 20-foot-tall man-child who lives next door, to be played by LaBeouf.

No distributor is yet on board, but given Linde’s relationship with Universal, sources say it’s a strong possibility. Since leaving his post as Universal chairman in 2009, Linde has kept a low profile, mostly exec producing on such projects as “360” and “The Flower of War” as he, Metzger and Rymer got their shingle in order for its May launch.

But with Lava Bear’s roster of execs filled, they are now down to the business of setting up projects, and landing LaBeouf is a solid first step. For LaBeouf, who says he’s done making “Transformers” movies, “A Giant” affords a chance to show his acting chops outside the tentpoles (sources tell Variety that LaBeouf was also a frontrunner to take one of the leads in Fox’s “Frankenstein” pic, but “Giant” won out).

LaBeouf can next be seen in the John Hillcoat pic “The Wettest County in the World” and is shooting the Robert Redford pic “The Company You Keep.” He is repped by CAA and John Crosby Management and attorney Matt Saver; Kenan is repped by WME.

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