Stallone pumped about ‘Ump’

NEW YORK — Sylvester Stallone is in serious talks to star in the MGM black comedy “Ump,” to be di-rected by Frank Oz. While the deal is still being worked out, the studio hopes to have the actor locked shortly and the film in production this summer, sources said.

MGM picked up the film in turnaround from Disney. It’s being produced by Paige Simpson and Mike Figgis, who developed it at Disney while they were partners. ”Ump” is being shepherded at MGM by studio president Mike Marcus and exec VP Greg Foster.

MGM attracted the interest of Stallone after a draft from Adam Brooks (”French Kiss”). Other writers on the proj-ect, which is based on a novel by Jim Cohen, have included Robert Harling and Jeff Nathanson.

Stallone will play a hit man called Ump because he adheres to a strict set of rules. After rubbing out two of three triplet mob bosses, he hides out in New Jersey; the hit man winds up straightening out the town while waiting for another crack at the third mob boss.

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The deal marks a continuing attempt by Stallone and his William Morris agent Arnold Rifkin to broaden from straight action fare.

After disappointing domestic returns in ”Daylight,” Stallone’s first effort in that transition comes in the Jim Mangold-directed Miramax film ”Copland,” and Stallone is one of the stars in Cinergi’s mockumentary ”An Alan Smithee Film.”

The thesp also recently became attached to the Universal development project ”One Free Murder,” inspired by reputed New York goodfella John ”Sonny” Franzese, who was imprisoned 20 years for a crime he didn’t commit. He got sprung partly due to articles by New York Post columnist Jack Newfield, who was humorously promised a free murder for his reportage.

Under the supervision of Nick Pileggi, Newfield is writing a fictional script with Rory O’Connor about what happens to a journalist with a free murder at his disposal.