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Alan Arkin lacing up for ‘Grudge Match’

'Argo' thesp in talks to join De Niro, Stallone in boxing pic

With awards buzz swirling for his perf in “Argo,” Alan Arkin is in negotiations to join fellow Oscar winners Robert De Niro and Kim Basinger, as well as Sylvester Stallone, in Warner Bros.’ boxing movie “Grudge Match.”

Peter Segal (“Get Smart”) is directing from a script by Tim Kelleher that was most recently rewritten by “Entourage” creator Doug Ellin. Billy Gerber is producing with Michael Ewing and Mark Steven Johnson. Production will start early next year in Louisiana.

De Niro and Stallone, no strangers to boxing pics between “Raging Bull” and the “Rocky” franchise, play retired fighters who decide to step into the ring one last time to settle an old score.

Stallone plays Henry ‘Razor’ Sharp, who retired after winning his last fight against Billy ‘The Kid’ McGuigan (De Niro), a passionate pugilist who never recovered after losing his belt to Razor and being denied a rematch. Now an out-of-shape restaurant owner, The Kid longs to be back in the spotlight and jumps at the chance to take another shot at Razor.

Arkin is in talks to play “Lightning” Louis Epstein, Razor’s former trainer who despite a medical condition, agrees to resume his post after Razor rescues him from a nursing home. Razor takes the rematch to pay Lightning’s medical bills, but questions his decision when an old flame (Basinger) comes back into his life. Comedian Kevin Hart will co-star as the fight promoter.

Arkin, who won an Oscar for “Little Miss Sunshine,” can currently be seen as a Hollywood producer in Ben Affleck’s “Argo,” which Warner Bros. is getting behind in a big way this awards season. Thesp recently wrapped New Line’s magician comedy “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” with Steve Carell and Jim Carrey, and he’ll next be seen alongside Al Pacino and Christopher Walken in Lionsgate’s comedy “Stand Up Guys,” which hits theaters Feb. 1. Arkin is repped by ICM Partners and Principal Entertainment.

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