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WB knocks off Universal, pays $ 1 mil for ‘Assassins’

After a lengthy tug-of-war with Universal for the hot spec script “Assassins, ” Larry and Andy Wachowski’s story finally landed at Warner Bros. late Thursday for more than $ 1 million. Warner Bros. had no comment.

The project was acquired in the early summer by producers Andrew Lazar from Dino De Laurentiis Communications, Ray Gideon and Bruce Evans, who then packaged and developed the property. Though not a DDC project, De Laurentiis is expected to get an exec producer credit.

A Creative Artists Agency team consisting of Jane Sindell, David Styne and Adam Kanter then went out with the script in October and finally brokered the deal late Wednesday night. Reported interest from MGM fizzled early, leaving the playing field to U and WB.

When it looked like WB was putting up the cash for the project — a few months ago, before Universal countered with more green — Joe Johnston (“Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”) was tapped to helm the actioner, and sources said Wesley Snipes had courted one of the meaty parts. Neither is currently attached.

Chemistry on ‘Fire’

The story is about a veteran hit man who is being stalked by a younger, hungrier colleague eager to usurp the top-dog slot. He must survive the attack by enlisting a female surveillance expert to whack the younger threat.

WB is said to have a vested interest in the Wachowskis, looking at them for future pix.

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