Col’s merry ‘Christmas’

Affleck in talks to star in laffer

NEW YORK — After surviving “Pearl Harbor,” Ben Affleck is in talks to star in “Surviving Christmas,” a Columbia comedy being produced by Tall Trees partners Betty Thomas and Jenno Topping.

Affleck, who stars in the Disney WWII epic opening Friday, will play a man faced with spending Christmas alone. He tries to remedy his holiday depression by going back to the last place he was happy, his childhood home, and convinces the family living there to take him in.

Originally scripted by Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan, the script has been rewritten by Josh Sternin and Jeff Ventimilia, who will do another rewrite. The producers and studio will look to put a director on the film, with production expected to begin within the next six months.

After completing the starring role of a pilot in “Pearl Harbor,” Affleck took over the starring role in the Jack Ryan franchise with the Phil Robinson-directed “The Sum of All Fears” at Paramount. The Endeavor-repped star will topline the Martin Brest-directed “Gigli” for Revolution, and then will head over to “Surviving Christmas.”

Thomas and Topping, who developed the film with exec veep Matt Tolmach, are readying for a September 10th start “I Spy,” the feature version of the TV series which is being directed by Thomas and stars Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson.

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