Scribes draw into Miramax for poker pic

NEW YORK — First-time scribes David Levien and Brian Koppelman drew a winning hand Tuesday as Miramax picked up their poker-themed screenplay “Rounders” for Ted Demme (“Beautiful Girls,” “The Ref”) and Joel Stillerman of Spanky Pictures to produce.

“We had been looking for a project to work on with Ted and Joel for quite some time,” said Miramax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein. “When Ted brought me ‘Rounders,’ I knew it was the perfect script.”

“Rounders” tells the story of a reformed gambler who is drawn back into New York’s underground poker world to help a recently paroled friend pay off loan sharks.

Sources said Miramax paid mid- against high-six figures for the script, which is the first sale by both Levien, who has written an unpublished book, and Koppelman, an EMI Records A&R exec whose father is EMI chieftain Charles Koppelman.

“David and Brian are two of the most exciting young poker players that Joel and I have ever met,” said Ted Demme. “The fact that they can write is a really great bonus.”

The deal was negotiated on behalf of Miramax by Neil Sacker, senior veepee of business and legal affairs, and Bobby Cohen, veepee of creative affairs, who will serve as the Miramax exec in charge of the project.

Levien and Koppelman’s deal was negotiated by their manager, Seth Jaret, and New York attorney John Sloss.

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