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Pitt giving books look for Par & U

Potential pix include 'Music,' 'Bourne'

NEW YORK — The pipeline for Brad Pitt projects continues to fill as talks are about to begin for him to star in an Alan Ladd Jr.-produced adaptation of the Pat Conroy bestseller “Beach Music” for Paramount. At the same time, the actor has just received an offer to star for U in a Doug Liman-directed adaptation of the Robert Ludlum thriller “The Bourne Identity.”

“Beach Music” was purchased by Paramount several years ago for $5 million, and Ladd has been working with Conroy and other writers to hone the sprawling 628-page tale into a workable film premise. That was finally accomplished by Robert Schenkkan, writer of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play “The Kentucky Cycles.”

Finding his McCall-ing

Ladd just got word that Pitt wants to play the role of Jack McCall, a man who returns to his home in South Carolina with his young daughter after his wife commits suicide. The homecoming becomes more heartbreaking when his wife’s parents, who are Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, sue for custody of the daughter.

Said Ladd, who while running MGM greenlit “Thelma & Louise,” the pic that marked Pitt’s first breakthrough role: “Brad is the right age, he is from the Southwest and can talk the language, and he could not be a more perfect choice for the role.” Once Pitt’s officially in the fold, they’ll secure a top helmer.

‘Bourne’ for vengeance

At the same time, Pitt is being heavily wooed by Universal to star in “Bourne Identity” as Jason Bourne, who wakes up one day to discover he’s been shot and left for dead and has no memory of why he was attacked or who he is.

Universal bought three books based on the character in hopes of spawning a franchise, something that has eluded Pitt. The actor’s considering the offer and is keen to work with Liman, helmer of “Swingers” and “Go.” Liman is honing the script with Blake Herron, with U exec Allison Brecker shepherding the project.

In the shorter term, next up for Pitt will be a date with Julia Roberts in the Gore Verbinski-directed “The Mexican,” a deal that was first reported (Daily Variety, Feb. 2) when the DreamWorks project suddenly got hot when Roberts sparked to the film and coaxed back Pitt, who’d once expected to make the film with David Fincher but cooled when the “Fight Club” helmer ankled. “The Sopranos” star James Gandolfini has joined them.

In J.H. Wyman’s script, Pitt will play a sweet-natured criminal who’s being pressured by his girlfriend to find another line of work. The film is being financed by Newmarket Capital Group, and produced by Lawrence Bender and John Baldecchi, with Newmarket’s William Tyrer, Chris Ball and Aaron Ryder exec producing.

With all that activity, Pitt has two other projects looming in his future. One is a tentative plan to join Roberts, George Clooney and others at Warner Bros. for a Steven Soderbergh-directed remake of the Rat Pack pic “Ocean’s Eleven” (Daily Variety, Jan. 27). Pitt’s participation will depend largely on timing.

Pitt is also developing the WB drama “Urban Townies” with helmer Mike Figgis.

Pitt is repped by CAA and Brillstein-Grey Management.

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