Polygram, Donner turn ‘Inside Out’

Donner/Shuler Donner will produce the tentatively titled “Inside Out” for Polygram, continuing the company’s efforts to lure A-list talent and big-budget pictures to its pipeline.

“Inside Out” centers on two jailed robbers who learn of a cache of illicit funds in a high-security bank and devise an elaborate plan to break out, break in and get back into stir before anyone notices. The pitch was sold to Polygram by vet writer-director Floyd Mutrux, who will receive a high-six figure advance for the screenplay.

Donner/Shuler Donner principal Richard Donner has first refusal on directing “Inside Out,” which would likely follow completion of “Lethal Weapon 4” next summer. No actors are attached to the project, but it’s being eyed as a vehicle for two stars.

The genesis of the project dates back several years, when Donner was briefly attached to direct Mutrux’s script “Common Ground” (at Paramount for Spelling Entertainment with John Travolta set to star).

When that deal fell out, Donner left the door open for another project. Mutrux meanwhile talked with two young producers — Greg Davis and Paul De Souza — who had an idea for a jailbreak picture. The writer, who was toying with a bank-heist story, thought it would be intriguing to combine the two plots.

“Dick (Donner) loved the idea,” said Mills Goodloe, who will produce for Donner/Shuler Donner along with Davis and De Souza. “He feels that one of his biggest strengths is the buddy action film. Floyd brings not only a strong sense of genre to the project, but enormous strength in offbeat characterization.”

Mutrux took the idea to Polygram exec VP Rick Finkelstein, who had produced “There Goes My Baby” for him.

“We had such a good working relationship on the last film that it was only natural to take it to Rick (Finkelstein) instead of having Dick go to Warner Bros., where he has his deal,” said Mutrux. “The response has been terrific, and you just can’t get the same kind of attention from a studio anymore.”

In addition to writing and directing such films as “Aloha, Bobby and Rose,” “American Hot Wax” and “There Goes My Baby,” Mutrux wrote and/or developed such films as “The Untouchables,” “Dick Tracy” and “Mulholland Falls.”

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