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Clooney ices ‘Frosty,’ but goes ‘West’

George Clooney has fallen out of “Jack Frost,” aka “Frosty the Snowman,” the project that was to be Warner Bros.’ big 1998 holiday offering. The studio is moving ahead with other casting options and sources said it’s eyeing other A-list actors, including John Travolta.

Billy Bob Thornton is in talks to join the project, which is slated to go before the cameras in January.

Clooney just sealed his deal to star as master of disguises Artemus Gordon in the studio’s “Wild, Wild West,” which starts in March or April. “Men in Black’s” Will Smith stars as James West while the director of that blockbuster, Barry Sonnenfeld, will helm. The picture is being produced by Jon Peters. Peter Seaman and Jeffrey Price (“Who Framed Roger Rabbit”) were just hired to do a rewrite.

“Jack Frost” is a special-effects-heavy film that the studio is targeting for Christmas 1998. Sam Raimi is directing the story about a jazz musician who pays little attention to his young daughter. When he dies, he gets the chance to redeem himself when he comes back as Frosty.

The project was set up by the former Giant Pictures team. Irving Azoff is producing with Raimi partner Rob Tapert, and Matthew Baer is exec producing. Both Mark Steven Johnson and Philip Morton have worked on the script.

The property has significant merchandising potential for Warner Bros., which has rights to the famous song through its Warner Music Publishing. The tune, a big hit for singer Burl Ives, was featured in the stop-motion animated special that airs on TV every holiday season.

Clooney is repped by WMA’s Michael Gruber and Todd Harris.

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