MGM bids Loncraine ‘Godspeed’

Douglas may topline astronaut tale

NEW YORK — MGM has set “Richard III” director Richard Loncraine to helm “Godspeed, Lawrence Mann,” a film being produced by David Ladd and Michael Douglas. Loncraine’s hiring puts the Capraesque film one step closer to production, with Douglas the film’s likely star.

While MGM would like to get the film into production as quickly as possible, there are several mitigating factors.

Loncraine will supervise a rewrite, and Douglas, who’s starring with fiancee Catherine Zeta-Jones in the Steven Soderbergh-directed “Traffic,” will likely take time off from work when she gives birth to their first child in August. They plan to marry before year’s end. That gives the studio time to get the script right, since Douglas likely won’t be working for awhile.

Scripted by Gary Nadeau and Christopher Momenee, “Godspeed” is the story of an astronaut who is thought dead when his capsule is found empty. He returns 40 years later to his hometown, and helps revive the place and its inhabitants, even if they don’t necessarily believe he’s who he says he is.

Douglas is repped by William Morris.

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