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Despite a lucrative term deal at Columbia Pictures, director Penny Marshall is just one step away from signing with Disney-distributed Cinergi Prods. to direct “The Renaissance Man.”

The project is currently out to Danny DeVito, who is holding conversations via his Creative Artists Agency representative Fred Specktor to star in the movie.

DeVito’s publicist Stan Rosenfield would neither confirm nor deny that talks were ongoing, but other sources indicated that Marshall will direct the movie if she can collaborate with the star of “Hoffa,””Other People’s Money” and “The War of the Roses.”

“The Renaissance Man” is a coming-of-age story about an advertising agency exec who leaves the harum-scarum lifestyle of Madison Avenue and takes a job in Detroit educating people in the armed services. Through the new job, he discovers a new side to himself.

The picture would be distributed domestically by Hollywood Pictures, where Cinergi has a long-term deal that has covered “Medicine Man” and the upcoming “Tombstone” and “The Color of Night.” A Hollywood Pictures representative had no comment on “The Renaissance Man.”

The potential deal could be particularly explosive for Columbia Pictures, which has previously released Marshall’s “A League of Their Own” and “Awakenings.” The studio has tried vigorously to get Marshall to commit to her next movie with the studio, where her Parkway Prods. is based.

There have been confirmed reports that Marshall was frustrated because former Columbia Pictures chairman Frank Price was not given enough credit for greenlighting “A League of Their Own,” which was marketed under current chairman Mark Canton’s regime.

Numerous phone calls to Marshall and Parkway exex were not returned, while Columbia senior management was in Cannes and could not be reached for comment.