Ulrich logs on ‘Takedown’

'Devil' star to become hacker Mitnick

NEW YORK — Skeet Ulrich, who is playing the lead in Ang Lee’s “Ride With the Devil” for Universal, will next star in “Takedown,” the story of real-life computer hacker Kevin Mitnick that Joe Chappelle (“Phantoms”) is helming for Millennium Films and Miramax’s genre label Dimension.

The biopic is the second of three projects that Chappelle will direct under his three-picture deal with Dimension.

Written by David Newman, Howard Rodman and John Danza, “Takedown” is the first of several films that will be co-financed and co-distributed by Millennium and Dimension.

“This film begins a significant relationship with Miramax, which originally developed the script. I look forward to continuing the growth of this partnership,” said Millennium’s Brad Weston, who is producing “Takedown” along with John Thompson.

Based on New York Times reporter John Markoff’s best-selling book of the same name, “Takedown” tells the story of how Mitnick was tracked down by high-tech genius Tsutomu Shimomura, who will be played by Russell Wong (“The Joy Luck Club”).

Markoff teamed with Shimomura to tell the story, which was acquired by Miramax.

Before starring opposite Tobey Maguire and Jewel in the Good Machine production “Ride With the Devil,” Ulrich appeared in James L. Brooks’ “As Good as It Gets” and Richard Linklater’s “The Newton Boys.”

Ulrich will return to his home state of North Carolina for “Takedown,” which begins shooting at the end of July. Pic is being exec produced by Avi Lerner, Danny Dimbort, Boaz Davidson and Trevor Short.

Andrew Rona will supervise the production for Dimension.

The deal was negotiated on behalf of Ulrich by attorney Ira Schreck and ICM’s Aleen Keshishian and Joe Funicello. It was negotiated on behalf of Millennium by Jason Frankel of Barab, Kline and Coate and by Miramax vice president of business and legal affairs Brian Burkin.