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Noir near for ‘Fargo’ team

McDormand to topline pic

Joel and Ethan Coen are negotiating with Oscar-winning “Fargo” star Frances McDormand to star in an untitled noirish drama penned by the duo that they’ll shoot this summer for Working Title. USA Films is negotiating to distribute.

Joel Coen, who’s married to McDormand, will direct and Ethan Coen will produce with Working Title partners Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan. They just served in those roles on “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?,” a drama by the brothers that stars George Clooney as one of three escapees from a chain gang in the 1930s. That pic, a Universal-Disney co-production, will likely bow this summer after its Cannes Intl. Film Festival premiere.

The new Coens-scripted project is also a period piece in the spirit of “The Postman Always Rings Twice,” married with the twisted comic sensibilities of the “Fargo” brothers. McDormand’s character is the philandering wife whose boyfriend turns up dead.

McDormand’s character will be a true femme fatale, the diametric opposite of “Fargo’s” sweet-natured Margie Gunderson character, for which she won the 1997 actress Oscar.

McDormand, who is repped by Endeavor, co-starred with Michael Douglas in the Curtis Hanson-directed “Wonder Boys,” and will next be seen starring in Cameron Crowe’s untitled film about the music business for DreamWorks.

Joel and Ethan Coen are repped by UTA.

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