Lopez is getting ‘Gigli’

Thesp to join Affleck in gunslinging tale

Jennifer Lopez will star opposite Ben Affleck in director Martin Brest’s “Gigli” for Revolution Studios. Pic is skedded to lens next month.

Deal, which is in final stages, gives Lopez a $12 million payday against a high single-digit percentage of the backend — a significant salary increase for the entertainer.

Lopez replaces Halle Berry, who ankled “Gigli” last month due to a scheduling conflict with “X-Men 2,” but she’s hardly second string on the project, having first been courted for the lead last summer (Daily Variety, July 26).

At the time, Lopez was already on board with Columbia Pictures’ “Tick Tock,” which was slated to start lensing in December. Col reskedded production for June in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, freeing up Lopez’s schedule for “Gigli.”

In the pic, Lopez plays a free-spirited female gunslinger sent to supervise a lowly hit man (Affleck) who has kidnapped the mentally slow brother of a district attorney. Together they hold the brother hostage in an apartment and go on the lam from the cops, falling in love in the process. Should the deal hold, Lopez will face a grueling schedule, toplining three films back to back. After “Gigli,” she is set to star in another romantic comedy for Revolution, “The Chambermaid,” followed by “Tick Tock.”

On the smallscreen, her primetime NBC concert special, featuring music from her hit album “J. Lo,” airs Nov. 20.

Brest, best known for directing “Scent of a Woman” and “Midnight Run,” wrote “Gigli” and will produce the pic with former Universal chairman-CEO Casey Silver. Revolution execs Todd Garner and Greg Silverman are overseeing the pic for the studio.

Lopez, who recently completed the Michael Apted-directed thriller “Enough” for Columbia, is repped by ICM and managed by Handprint Entertainment.