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Reed takes on Fox’s ‘Fantastic’ project

Producers seeking new writer

Peyton Reed (“Bring It On”) has been brought on to develop and direct “Fantastic Four” for 20th Century Fox.

Although the project has been in development at Fox for several years, with scripts written by Sam Hamm (“Monkeybone”) and Philip Morton and story credits going to Michael France (“GoldenEye”) and Chris Columbus, the producers and Reed are currently seeking a new writer.

Fantastic Four” centers on four astronauts who develop superhuman powers after their spaceship is exposed to cosmic rays. They find themselves transformed into the Fantastic Four — Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, the Human Torch and the Thing — and they band together to fight against the evil Doctor Doom.

Pic will be produced by Marvel Studios, 1492 Pictures’ Michael Barnathan and Constantin Films’ Bernd Eichinger.

Production veep Elysa Koplovitz is the Fox exec attached to the project. Senior veep Kevin Feige is overseeing the project at Marvel Studios.

As with most pics with comicbook origins, fan sites have overflowed with gossip about “Four.” Raja Gosnell (“Big Momma’s House”), Brian Helgeland (“Payback”) and Columbus have all been rumored at various times to be directing the project.

Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, “Fantastic Four” was first published by Marvel in 1962 and subverted comicbook convention as the characters bickered among themselves. In 1992, helmer Roger Corman made a version of the pic, but it was never released.

Studios have long mined Marvel’s 1,300-character library. In addition to Fox’s recent “X-Men,” with a sequel tentatively skedded for 2002, upcoming Marvel-based projects include Columbia’s “Spider-Man” and Fox’s own “Silver Surfer,” which Constantin is also attached to produce.

Fox and Marvel recently filed lawsuits against each other in a Gotham federal court disputing fair use of the rights to superhero characters from the “X-Men” franchise (Daily Variety, April 16).

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