Hunt for ‘Women’

Actress nears deal to star in Gibson film

Helen Hunt is in advanced negotiations to co-star opposite Mel Gibson in the Nancy Meyers-helmed pic “What Women Want” at Paramount Pictures and Lakeshore.

Hunt, who recently completed work on the Robert Zemeckis-helmed Tom Hanks pic at Fox, “Cast Away,” begins shooting Bel Air Entertainment’s “Pay It Forward” in February. Once she wraps that film, she will segue to “Women.”

Hunt also recently completed her role in Robert Altman’s “Dr. T and the Women,” which means, if all goes as planned, she could be appearing in as many as four films all at once come year’s end.

Principal photography for “What Women Want” is skedded for a February start. In the offbeat comedy, a chauvinistic executive (Gibson) recovers from an accident to find himself able to hear what every woman he meets is really thinking.

One such woman is Hunt’s character, the female lead. Marisa Tomei is in talks to appear in the film.

Meyers, who helmed “The Parent Trap,” rewrote the “Women” script first written by TV scribes Josh Goldsmith and Kathy Yuspah (Daily Variety, Aug. 23, 1999).

Meyers will produce along with Wind Dancer Films’ Susan Cartsonis and Roundtable Entertainment’s Gina Matthews.

Paramount-based Icon Pictures is expected to produce as well, while handling the film’s international distribution rights.

Hunt is repped by CAA.

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