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Col takes a ‘SWAT’

Studio tries scribe Ayer for another go at story

NEW YORK — Columbia Pictures is throwing another writer at its long-gestating project “SWAT” — this time A-list scribe David Ayer (“U-571”).

Ayer will be paid nearly $1 million upfront, with a significant seven-figure payday if the film gets made.

Commercials helmer Zack Snyder remains on board to direct the screen version of the 1970s TV series, but Ayer will not rely on previous draft screenplays commissioned by the studio.

He won the assignment by delivering a pitch to Columbia topper Amy Pascal and exec Amy Baer. His new take on the material is: A grizzled SWAT officer is given a second chance to cobble together a new team to protect a high-profile criminal.

Also still attached to the film as exec producers are Oliver Stone and Han Halsted. It’s unclear who will finally produce the pic.

“I watched the show as a kid and had SWAT action figures,” Ayer told Daily Variety. He said he will need to get cranking on the script as soon as possible, since the studio plans to release the pic next summer.

Ayer, repped by ICM, currently is penning “Squids,” an original script for New Line and New Line-based Indelible Pictures, producer Art Linson and director David Fincher’s shingle. Project is loosely based on Ayer’s experiences serving in the Navy on a nuclear sub. Ayer hopes to deliver his script before the May 1 strike deadline.

The scribe penned Warner Bros’ Denzel Washington starrer “Training Day.” He co-wrote, with James Ellroy and based on Ellroy’s book, “The Plague Season” for Intermedia, to be released by MGM, with Ron Shelton helming and Kurt Russell starring. He also wrote “The Fast and the Furious,” due out June 22 from Universal.

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