'The Notebook' director takes on gritty action pic

Nick Cassavetes (“The Notebook”) will direct the gritty action pic “Cali,” in which Kristen Stewart is set to star.

Voltage Prods. and New School Media are producing the Michael Diliberti-scripted pic, which follows a pair of San Fernando Valley lovebirds who sell a fake snuff film and ride off with a bundle of cash. Years later, the girl (Stewart) must “return from the dead” to save the younger sister she left behind.

Craig J. Flores (“300″) and Zev Foreman (“Killer Joe”) will produce for Voltage, while Diliberti will also produce. His manager, Brian Levy of New School Media, will exec produce with Voltage co-owner Nicolas Chartier and Stewart, who will pick up her first producing credit on the project.

Diliberti developed the script on spec before it was acquired by Voltage, which attached Stewart. Voltage will be selling the film at the Cannes Film Market, and producers are anticipating a late summer start.

“Nick’s the perfect director for this gritty, L.A.-based story and will smartly balance the dynamic action with a true love story. Nick’s record of working with top talent continues here in his collaboration with Kristen Stewart,” Foreman said.

Cassavetes is best known for directing the hit Nicholas Sparks adaptation “The Notebook,” as well as the true crime tale “Alpha Dog.” He most recently wrapped “Yellow,” which he co-wrote with his wife Heather Wahlquist, who also stars in the indie drama. Cassavetes is an actor as well, and he most recently appeared in Todd Phillips’ comedy “The Hangover Part II.”

Cassavetes is repped by ICM.

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