Whitaker’s ‘Blown Away’

It may be in the midst of a management change, but MGM/UA has at least one hot project with a trio of top actors in the pipeline.

Forest Whitaker closed a deal late Friday to star in “Blown Away.”

The move joins the star of “Bird” and “The Crying Game” with Tommy Lee Jones and Jeff Bridges, according to sources familiar with the picture.

The “Blown Away” talent troika of Jones, Bridges and Whitaker is considered by talent agents and production executives to be one of the hottest combinations in the movie business, with Jones fresh from his performance in Warner Bros.’ “The Fugitive” and Bridges coming off critical acclaim for “American Heart” and a touted performance in the upcoming Rosie Perez starrer “Playing With Fire.”

Whitaker’s deal for “Blown Away” was negotiated by International Creative Management agents Michael Goldman, Tracey Jacobs and Bill Block. It is the latest in a string of high-profile transactions for Whitaker, whose directorial debut, “Strapped,” premieres on HBO Saturday.

In May, Whitaker pacted with TriStar Pictures to direct “No. 4,” a project written by Preston Whitmore and named after the renowned Los Angeles bus line. In July, he pacted with the indie company Picture Entertainment Corp. to star opposite Martin Landau and Patricia Arquette in “The Gold Cup.”

To start production in Massachusetts Aug. 23, “Blown Away” is about a duel between a sophisticated Irish bomber, played by Jones, and a Boston bomb squad expert, played by Bridges. In the pic, Whitaker will play Bridges’ damn-the-torpedoes partner, who aggressively goads them into confrontation.

As previously reported, Lloyd Bridges has been cast opposite his son in the pic. Director of “Blown Away” is Stephen Hopkins.

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