Cage, Ratner find ‘Family’

Pic a redux for thesp

Nicolas Cage is in negotiations with Universal Pictures and Beacon Communications to star in “Family Man” under “Rush Hour” director Brett Ratner’s helm.

As skedded, “Family Man” would be the next project for Cage and Ratner, who have been the objects of affection of studios looking to get a slot on the actor’s and director’s busy dance cards.

The deal marks a return to “Family Man” for Cage, who was close to shooting the pic in late 1998 under “L.A. Confidential” helmer Curtis Hanson. But Cage had already committed to star for Martin Scorsese in “Bringing Out the Dead,” and Hanson turned to “Wonder Boys” at Paramount.

Playing the ‘Man’

Cage will finish the Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer Prods.’ pic “Gone in 60 Seconds” before taking on the title role in “Family Man,” which is expected to start in mid-October or at the latest, early November.

In the pic, Cage will star as a workaholic investment banker who forsakes love for his career, and, although he makes a fortune, he is left with a nagging feeling he should have married his college sweetheart and had a family. One day the hard-charging exec wakes up to find he’s living that life, complete with home in the ‘burbs, wife and kids.

Alan Riche, Howard Rosenman and Tony Ludwig are producing from a screenplay by David Diamond and David Weissman.

With Cage nearly set to star, Ratner has committed to “Family Man” as his next project — clearing up a tangle of potential “Rush Hour” follow-ups that were holding several studios in limbo. “Family Man” has been among the projects he has been developing (Daily Variety, April 27) and at one point it looked like he would direct John Travolta in the pic, but that pairing never materialized.

Ratner roster

Among the other projects Ratner has attached himself to since “Rush Hour” are “Ocean’s 11” at Warner Bros., “The Killing of a Chinese Bookie” at New Line and “Across the Bridge,” which originally was set up at Fox and now is in development at Disney as “Double Take.”

While it’s unclear whether he will continue to develop any of these projects, Ratner is expected to reteam with Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan in a “Rush Hour” sequel at New Line.

Cage, who is repped by CAA and Brillstein-Grey Entertainment, freed up part of his upcoming schedule when conflicts forced him to drop out of the Working Title/Universal pic “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin,” which was slated to begin production in March in Italy.

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