Edison-Westinghouse rivalry pic acquired for Bekmambetov to helm
One of the hot specs of 2011 is getting a jolt as Timur Bekmambetov’s Bazelevs banner has acquired “The Current War” as a directing vehicle for Bekmambetov.Michael Mitnick penned the spec, which chronicles the competition between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse to create the first sustainable electrical current. The search will now begin for actors to play the historical figures. Sources say Sacha Baron Cohen had shown interest in playing Edison, but offers could not be made until a director was locked. It’s unclear whether an offer now would be made to Baron Cohen — or whether he’d even be available. Development is being financed through Bazelevs’ independent fund, with Michele Wolkoff, Bazelevs’ development prexy, overseeing the project. Steve Zaillian and Garrett Basch will exec produce through Zaillian’s Film Rites banner. Sale is a pretty big score for first-time film scribe Mitnick after the spec was listed on 2011’s Black List. The WME and Fourth Floor Prods.-repped Mitnick is a playwright whose latest play, “Ed, Downloaded,” will world preem at the Denver Center in 2013. Bekmambetov is currently in post on Fox’s “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” which bows June 22. He and Zaillan are repped by WME.