DE NIRO IN TALKS TO JOIN ‘ANALYZE’

Robert De Niro is in talks to star with Billy Crystal in Warner Bros.’ “Analyze This,” a comedy Crystal developed at the studio that will be directed by Richard Loncraine, sources said Tuesday.

Pic is about a psychiatrist (Crystal) who finds himself helping a domineering mob boss (De Niro) overcome his various psychological troubles, not the least of which is ordering a hit. The pic is expected to start this spring.

The film would mark an infrequent comic turn for De Niro. He starred opposite Bill Murray in the low-key comedy “Mad Dog and Glory” (1993), and also has starred in “Mistress” (1992), “We’re No Angels” (1989) and “Midnight Run” (1988).

Crystal, who began developing the project two years ago, stars with Robin Williams in Warner Bros.’ “Father’s Day,” to be released by the studio in the spring.

The picture will be produced by Paula Weinstein, whose Spring Creek Prods. is based at Warner Bros., with Crystal on board as executive producer. Crystal’s Face Prods. is based at Castle Rock.

Peter Tolan is doing a rewrite of the script, which originated with Ken Lonergan and also has been rewritten by Phoef Sutton.

Loncraine directed last year’s “Richard III,” and his credits also include the British pics “Brimstone and Treacle,” “The Missionary,” “Flame” and “The Haunting of Julia.”

De Niro is repped by CAA, and Crystal is repped by CAA and the management firm of Brezner, Morra, Steinberg and Tenenbaum.

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