Brooks finds his ‘Muse’ at October

He'll direct and topline comedy

CANNES — Albert Brooks will shift his idiosyncratic form of neuroses to October Films with “The Muse,” which he will direct and topline.

October will finance and distribute the comedy that will mark October’s biggest project to date, with a projected budget of $20 million to $25 million.

Brooks penned the script with his longtime writing partner Monica Johnson. Herb Nanas is set to produce.

In the pic, Brooks will play a down-on-his-luck screenwriter who believes he has found salvation in the form of a real, live muse in Los Angeles.

The film is a major coup for October, which is based at Universal Pictures and run by partners Scott Greenstein, Bingham Ray and John Schmidt.

Brooks brought the project to the company. “October is the perfect company to market and distribute ‘The Muse,’ ” he says. “I have admired their talents in this area for some time and am delighted to have the chance to work with them.”

Pic will be the second project for October with a bigger-than-usual budget: The company is expected to spend some $20 million on Mike Leigh’s untitled pic about operetta kingpins Gilbert & Sullivan.

October Films Intl. and Good Machine Intl. will handle foreign sales on “The Muse” together through their joint venture, which David Linde heads.

The filmmaker has previously worked for companies including Geffen Films, Warner Bros. and Paramount. His feature helming and writing credits include “Real Life,” “Modern Romance,” “Lost in America,” “Defending Your Life” and “Mother.”

His additional thesp credits include his Oscar-nominated turn in “Broadcast News” as well as “Taxi Driver,” “Private Benjamin” and “Unfaithfully Yours.”