Donaldson on MGM pic

Roger Donaldson, helmer of “The Getaway” and “No Way Out,” has signed a deal pegged at roughly $ 2 million to direct MGM’s sci-fi thriller “Species,” sources said Tuesday.

Donaldson has been in talks with the studio since mid-January.

The pact was brokered by Frank Mancuso Jr., who also is producing the pic, and Donaldson’s agent at CAA, Ken Stovitz.

MGM, meanwhile, announced that artist H.R. Giger, who was responsible for the dripping, ghoulish monsters in RidleyScott’s “Alien,” will create the title creature in “Species.”

The project is being hyped as a sci-fi thriller about a genetically engineered beast capable of assuming human form. When the creature turns bad, its creators have to hunt it down and kill it.

According to MGM prexy Michael Marcus, Giger came on board because of his appreciation for Donaldson’s work. The Swiss artist won an Oscar for his design contributions to “Alien.”

Dennis Feldman penned the screenplay and is a co-producer on the project.

Mancuso said the pic’s budget would fall somewhere between $ 25 million and $ 35 million, with a good portion allocated for special effects.

“It’s not a movie that calls for stars,” he said. “We’re going to try and put as much money as we can below the line and allow the effects and the creature to be the highlights of the film.”

He added that the studio had just started to cast the pic, which will begin lensing toward the end of July for release next March.

Other Donaldson helming credits include “Cocktail” and “The Bounty.”

Mancuso previously produced “Internal Affairs” and the popular “Friday the 13 th” sequels,starting with the third pic.

Feldman’s scripting jobs include “The Golden Child” and “Real Men.”

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