Bill Murray teeing up Black List dramedy ‘Van Nuys’

In early talks to topline project for 20th Century Fox and writer/director Ted Melfi

As Bill Murray prepares to enter awards season with his portrayal of FDR in “Hyde Park on Hudson,” thesp has begun looking at future projects, including the Black List dramedy “St. Vincent De Van Nuys,” which he’s in early negotiations to topline for Twentieth Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment.

Written by Ted Melfi, who’s also onboard to direct, the coming-of-age tale follows a 12-year old boy who, in the wake of his parents’ divorce, forms an unlikely friendship with the misanthropic retiree (Murray) living next door. A war veteran whose life mainly consists of drinking, gambling and prostitutes, the elder soon becomes an unlikely mentor.

Chernin Entertainment will produce the pic with Fred Roos, while Don Cheadle and Kay Liberman will exec produce through their Crescendo Prods. banner.

Script appeared on the 2011 Black List where it earned the same number of votes as Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained.” Over the past year, Jack Nicholson had been rumored to potentially star.

Murray, who recently reteamed with frequent collaborator Wes Anderson on “Moonrise Kingdom,” will next be seen playing Franklin D. Roosevelt in Roger Michell’s period pic “Hyde Park on Hudson,” which Focus Features will release in the heart of awards season Dec. 7. An Oscar nominee for Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation,” Murray has also wrapped Roman Coppola’s period comedy “A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III,” which stars Charlie Sheen and Jason Schwartzman.

Murray is repped by attorney David Nochimson, while Melfi is repped by UTA and Infinity Management.

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