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Par seduced by ‘Venus’

Segal to man duo's laffer as helmer, co-scribe

NEW YORK — Paramount has reunited the team behind the Chris Farley/David Spade comedy “Tommy Boy,” paying high six figures against seven figures for “Venus Down,” a comic pitch to be scripted by Peter Segal and Fred Wolf as a directing vehicle for Segal.

In “Venus Down,” the duo has strayed from its usual track of hatching comedies for male stars. New York-set story concerns an arrogant goddess of love who takes a challenge laid down by her father, who wagers that she cannot win the love of a mortal without her powers in 30 days. Michael Ewing, Segal’s partner in Greenhaven Films, will produce.

Segal last directed the Eddie Murphy comedy “Nutty Professor II: The Klumps,” while Wolf’s most recent scripted comedy was the David Spade starrer “Joe Dirt.” Wolf also wrote “The Five Joes” at New Line for Adam Sandler and co-wrote with Spade the Revolution comedy “Puka Pete.” The duo more recently teamed on a rewrite of “The Incredible Shrinking Man,” which is being fashioned as a Murphy vehicle that Segal may direct, once his busy schedule clears.

Segal hopes to do “Venus Down” right after he completes his next directing stint. The candidates include “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry,” the Barry Fanaro-scripted comedy at Universal about hetero male firefighters who marry for insurance benefits, or “Stuck on You,” the Fox comedy about mismatched Siamese twins.

“Chuck,” which nearly went into production with Tom Shadyac directing Will Smith and Nicolas Cage, most recently was rewritten by Peter Tolan, while “Stuck on You” nearly got made with Peter and Bobby Farrelly directing Jim Carrey and Woody Allen as the twins, one of whom seeks a movie career. That film was scripted by the Farrellys among others, with Marc Hyman hired to do a polish. Segal’s also booked to direct “Star Child” with Tim Allen at Paramount.

Swimming in talent pool

“There’s been a feeling of paralysis because studios are so stockpiled that it’s been like a stun grenade went off and it’s taking time for things to get going again,” Segal said. “Fred and I have wanted to do a smart romantic comedy for a woman, because there probably hasn’t been this deep a talent pool of women who can carry a movie since the 1930s. Fred had a great idea, and John Goldwyn and Brian Witten at Paramount really sparked to it.”

Segal and Ewing were repped by CAA, while Wolf is repped by UTA and Brillstein-Grey.

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