Foster to helm ‘Flora Plum’ pic

Danes eyeing lead in circus story

Jodie Foster will be the ringmaster on the circus-set drama “Flora Plum” for October Films.

Foster will direct the pic, and she and Barry Mendel will produce it through Foster’s Paramount-based Egg Pictures outfit.

“Flora,” a screenplay by Steven Rogers, is a 1930s love story set in a circus. Tragic pic follows a “freak” who takes pity on a penniless waif and puts her on the road to stardom, but falls in love with her on the way.

Claire Danes is in talks to star in the film, although no deal is done and parties characterized the discussions as “preliminary.”

At more than $20 million, pic will be one of the more ambitious projects that October has attempted. Egg’s Meg Le Fauve will exec produce.

” ‘Plum’ is an extraordinary story, and we are thrilled to be working with Jodie, who is as talented a leader in the creative community as she is a brilliant and multidimensional artist,” said October Films co-president Scott Greenstein, who heads up the independent film company alongside Bingham Ray and John Schmidt.

Foster’s two previous directing efforts were “Little Man Tate” and “Home for the Holidays.” As an actress, she has starred in “The Accused,” “Silence of the Lambs,” “Maverick” and “Contact,” among other pics. Foster won best actress Oscars for her roles in “The Accused” and “Lambs.”

Egg moved to Paramount late last year from Polygram Filmed Entertainment. PFE had backed “Nell,” which Foster starred in and produced but did not direct, and “Home.” “Flora” is the first pic that Egg has unveiled since the shift of locales.

October will have worldwide rights to “Flora.” Good Machine Intl. will handle international sales on the film under its joint distribution agreement with October.

The October principals negotiated for their company. ICM and attorney Matt Saver repped Foster. CAA reps Danes.