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Affleck homes in on ‘Daredevil’ role

'Pearl' thesp to play blind superhero

HOLLYWOOD — Ben Affleck will soon sport red spandex in the Regency Entertainment/20th Century Fox co-production of Marvel Comics superhero saga “Daredevil,” to be directed by Mark Steven Johnson (“Simon Birch”).

While the final touches are still being put on the deal, the “Pearl Harbor” pilot is expect to fetch a low eight-figure salary for his performance.

Budgeted around $50 million, pic is tentatively skedded to lense next year in Vancouver after Affleck, who is repped by Endeavor, finishes shooting Revolution’s “Gigli.”

Diesel shifts gears

Recently, Endeavor-repped Vin Diesel had been circling the project, but has since signed on to “The Chronicles of Riddick,” a sequel to the U sci-fi pic “Pitch Black” (Daily Variety, Sept. 26).

Affleck will play blind lawyer and martial artist Matt Murdock, who becomes so disillusioned with the legal system that he becomes the costumed crime-fighting vigilante known as Daredevil. His senses, heightened by an accident with a radioactive isotope, afford him radarlike sight, which help him bring villains to justice.

Also making the leap from comicbook to film will be Daredevil’s enemies — corpulent mob boss Kingpin; master marksman Bullseye; and Daredevil’s ex-girlfriend-turned assassin-for-hire, Elektra.

Trip around town

“Daredevil” originated at Chris Columbus’ 1492 Prods. at Fox before temporarily moving to Sony, where conversations first began with Johnson, who penned the script with a polish from Brian Helgeland (“A Knight’s Tale”). Regency took over the project last summer and brought it back to Fox.

Gary Foster will produce “Daredevil” with Marvel Studios CEO-prexy Avi Arad; Stan Lee will exec produce.

Affleck recently worked on “Surviving Christmas,” for Tall Trees Prods. and Columbia, and “The Sum of All Fears,” from Mace Neufield Prods. and Paramount.