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Spielberg scans ‘Notebook’

Leven's adaptation of bestseller intrigues helmer

NEW YORK — While Steven Spielberg continues to set up directing projects such as the A. Scott Berg bio on Charles Lindbergh at his DreamWorks home base, the director is eyeing a New Line project, “The Notebook,” as a possible next project, sources said.

“The Notebook” is based on a Nicholas Sparks novel about a man who reads passages from his diary to his ailing wife. It has been on the bestseller lists for more than a year. The book has held Spielberg’s attention for the past several weeks, when he got the scripted adaptation by Jeremy Leven, who wrote and directed “Don Juan De Marco.” The film is being produced by Mark Johnson, who declined comment.

However, sources close to Spielberg say his involvement is speculation at this point.

If Spielberg does become involved, it will be interesting to see if DreamWorks becomes involved as well. Paramount brought in DreamWorks as a partner on “Saving Private Ryan,” which was developed at Paramount but became a co-production once Spielberg and Tom Hanks were ready to sign on.

Leven has been in a strong creative zone lately. His script “The Gambler” has interest from Brad Pitt at Mandalay, and his script “Bagger Vance” is set up at DreamWorks with Robert Redford.

Sparks’ “Message in a Bottle,” the follow-up to “The Notebook,” is about to start production with Luis Mandoki directing Kevin Costner and Robin Wright Penn.

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