Helmer Jay Roach, whose “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” was a B.O. martini for New Line Cinema last May, will take on directing duties for Walt Disney Pictures’ hockey pic “The Game,” the studio confirmed Tuesday.
The deal is part of a first-look pact that Disney inked with Roach. Disney prexy David Vogel brought the project into the studio. Senior VP of production Bernie Goldman will oversee it.
Studio insiders said the title is likely to be changed so as not to conflict with Polygram’s identically named Michael Douglas starrer, which bows Oct. 3. Disney expects to get its “Game” before cameras in January.
Pic will be made from David E. Kelley’s script and produced by Howard Baldwin. That pair took home nearly $2 million in a writing-producing deal for the spec in May.
Described as “Northern Exposure” meets “Slapshot,” the pic is about a hockey team in a small Alaskan town that is given a one-time shot to play against the New York Rangers.
Baldwin also happens to own the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey squad.
Roach made his feature debut with “Austin Powers.” His other credits include writing and producing “The Empty Mirror”; story and producer credit on “Blown Away”; co-producer credit on “Lifepod”; and co-producing and co-writing tags on “Space Rangers” for CBS.
His deal was brokered by ICM agents Nick Reed and Paul Haas along with attorney Howard Abramson. He is also repped by managers Jimmy Miller and Peter Safran.