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Sheridan may open Sparks’ ‘Notebook’

Jim Sheridan is negotiating with New Line Cinema to direct “The Notebook,” the Jeremy Leven-scripted adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks bestselling novel that will be produced by Mark Johnson. The plan is for Sheridan to work on the script and make “Notebook” his next film, with shooting to start in late summer.

“The Notebook” has long been considered a hot property, even before Sparks’ currency was enhanced by the recent box office strength of “Message in a Bottle,” which was based on his novel. Leven, who wrote and directed “Don Juan De Marco,” turned in a script that was strong enough to have Steven Spielberg in serious conversations to direct, until his other projects made him unavailable.

New Line and Johnson then turned to Sheridan, who has directed such acclaimed films as “My Left Foot,” “In the Name of the Father,” and most recently “The Boxer,” all of which starred Daniel Day-Lewis. The film version of the bestseller concerns a retired salesman in North Carolina who dutifully visits a woman in a nursing home, takes down a notebook from a shelf, and reads her a love story about two men vying for the same woman during the 1930s and ’40s. It soon becomes apparent that the nursing home patient is the woman, and the narrator is one of the men, her husband. She has Alzheimer’s Disease, so the stories are new to her each time. It’s unclear until later which of the men the narrator is.

Several big stars are circling, especially with news that Sheridan was ready to make “The Notebook” his next film after considering several other projects. “The Notebook” is being shepherded by New Line execs Lynn Harris and Mike De Luca, and Sheridan is repped by CAA.

FEAR OF FLYING: With tributes still pouring in for the late director Stanley Kubrick, many are focusing on his perceived reclusive nature, stemming from his refusal to fly. According to Ken Adam, his production designer and close friend on “Dr. Strangelove” and “Barry Lyndon,” that fear stemmed from Kubrick’s own aspirations to be a pilot.

“On his first solo flight, he forgot to switch on the second magneto, which is a flying term, but it caused his plane to stagger into the air, and he just managed to land without crashing,” Adam recalled. “I think it gave him an enormous shock. But he was fascinated by flying. I was a fighter pilot for the RAF during World War II, and when I was driving him to the set each day, I had to keep him entertained six months with my wartime experiences. But as for himself, that solo flight did it for him. I think it was the last time he ever flew in an aircraft.”

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