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‘Body’ bags WB deal for scribe King

Former Hollywood trade reporter Andrea King’s debut screenwriting effort “Body Language” has been purchased by Warner Bros. for Steven Spielberg to produce. The deal checks in at $ 350,000 against $ 600,000.

The spec-script sale marks the third chapter in King’s Hollywood career. She was a trade reporter for five years before leaving in June 1992 for a first-look deal at Fox. Although King will continue to develop and hopefully produce Fox projects, she’ll emphasize screenwriting down the road.

“Body Language” is a romantic comedy that puts a distaff spin on the Cyrano de Bergerac classic — but instead of having a big nose, the female protagonist is overweight.

A treatment was originally commissioned at 20th Century Fox by former studio chairman Joe Roth and production president Roger Birnbaum, but the current management team of Peter Chernin and Tom Jacobson passed on the finished version.

King said she then set to write the spec script on weekends and at night. “I knew I had the story in me,” said King. “And I knew that if I was ever going to test myself to see if I was a screenwriter, I might as well do it on (a story) that is intensely personal.”

Amblin executives Deborah Newmyer and Jason Hoffs teamed to bring the screenplay to Spielberg, who okayed the company’s purchase.

Touchstone tripped up

Touchstone Pictures seemed to have the inside track on the property more than a week ago, before a last-minute glitch opened up the market.

Among those competing for the project at various intervals were Propaganda Films, Universal Pictures for Larry Gordon and Chuck Gordon and Warner Bros.

King was represented in negotiations by Creative Artists Agency’s David Lonner and Irell & Manella attorney Michael Gendler.

Final producers credits have yet to be finalized, but King, Robin Schiff and Kim Friedman are all expected to receive some sort of producer’s credit.

King’s production activities at Fox include three percolating projects: a project based on Stax Records, in which King is paired with Atlantic artist and repertoire executive Steve Greenberg; “Stand the Heat,” a romantic comedy about two dueling chefs in New York written by Sheryl Longin and being re-written by Tom Flynn; and a remake of the 1952 Cary Grant/Ginger Rogers-starrer “Monkey Business,” being written by Mitch Markowitz.

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