Nicolas Cage and Will Smith are sealing deals to star together in Paramount Pictures’ thriller “Snake Eyes,” for director Brian De Palma, sources said.

The project, which is being produced by De Palma and by its screenwriter, David Koepp, is scheduled to go before the cameras Aug. 1. The story concerns a detective who witnesses the assassination of the U.S. secretary of defense during a heavyweight boxing title match. He must try to find the culprit before the match is over.

The two actors began discussions with the studio a few weeks ago (Daily Variety, March 2). Both actors will then likely segue to separate projects at Warner Bros. Cage is in early negotiations to star in “Superman,” while Smith is set to star in “Wild Wild West.” Warner Bros. hopes to get “Superman” going for a summer 1998 bow.

“Snake Eyes” was brought into the studio by newly christened motion picture president John Goldwyn and executive VP of production Don Granger.

A bidding war in December resulted in the studio paying $5 million to De Palma and giving Koepp a deal worth $4 million, which includes producing fees.