Eric Roberts has agreed to star in “White Fang” director Randal Kleiser’s next film, “It’s My Party,” in a major departure from his recent turn as a heavy in “The Specialist.”

In the film, which Kleiser also scripted, Roberts will play a seemingly healthy gay man who discovers he not only has AIDS, but has brain lesions that will shortly rob him of his motor skills and leave him in a vegetative state. Unwilling to wait for that outcome, the character plans to take matters into his own hands, but holds a party in which he brings his friends, lovers and family together to pull together the loose ends of his life.

Sources said Oscar winner Marlee Matlin is negotiating to play the other major role, the lead character’s deaf sister. While her deal’s not yet been firmed, sources said Roberts is planning to learn sign language as preparation for the film.

Roberts, who’ll next be seen opposite Alec Baldwin and Kelly Lynch in Savoy’s adaptation of the James Lee Burke novel “Heaven’s Prisoners,” is repped by UTA’s Nick Stevens.