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Zeta-Jones, Costner rolling on Stone pic

Mandalay developing epic love story

Catherine Zeta-Jones and Kevin Costner are in final negotiations to star in Mandalay Pictures’ “Beyond Borders,” the next directorial outing for Oliver Stone.

Pic will be produced by Stone and Dan Halsted, who were formerly partners in Illusion Entertainment Group, but dissolved that arrangement earlier this year; Doug Claybourne is exec producer.

Mandalay has been developing the Caspian Tredwell-Owen-penned script, which previously had been referred to as the untitled U.N. love story (Daily Variety, Nov. 12, 1998). The project is an epic love story concerning an American doctor (Costner) and a British relief worker (Zeta-Jones), set against the backdrop of U.N. relief efforts around the world.

Mandalay will finance “Beyond,” which will be distributed domestically by Paramount and overseas by the company’s equity partners.

Project is the latest high profile vehicle for Zeta-Jones, the Welsh actress who first gained worldwide attention starring opposite Antonio Banderas in Sony’s 1998 pic “The Mask of Zorro.” She recently starred opposite Sean Connery in “Entrapment” and was part of the ensemble in DreamWorks’ “The Haunting.”

Since the release of those pics earlier this year, Zeta-Jones has been fielding offers, but has only lent her services for a cameo role in Stephen Frears’ upcoming comedy “High Fidelity” from Buena Vista. She is said to be considering a role in “When in Rome” for Disney and director Mark Steven Johnson.

“Beyond Borders” will mark a reteaming of Costner and Stone, who worked together on the 1991 biopic “JFK.”

Costner, who stars in U’s current “For Love of the Game,” is also attached to star in Beacon Communications’ Cold War drama “Thirteen Days,” now set up at New Line.

Stone soon delivers his latest social study, the professional football drama “Any Given Sunday,” which Warner Bros. is slated to release Dec. 25.

Zeta-Jones is repped by ICM, Stone by CAA.