‘Signs’ right for Gibson

Pic centers on mysterious crop circles at farm

Mel Gibson is negotiating to star in “Signs,” the Walt Disney Pictures thriller written and to be directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

Shyamalan, whose first Disney films “The Sixth Sense” and “Unbreakable” grossed over $900 million worldwide, set up his latest project in an eight-figure deal.

Studio brass were so impressed with the spec script, they read it on a Saturday and preemptively closed the deal with Shyamalan’s UTA reps the following morning (Daily Variety, April 25).

Shyamalan built his last two hits around Bruce Willis, but rumors surfaced weeks ago that Disney and the filmmaker were eyeing Gibson.

The actor is believed to have read the script last week. He’s busy playing Commander Harold Moore in “We Were Soldiers Once … and Young,” a memoir of the first engagement between American and Viet Cong troops in fall 1965, written and directed by “Braveheart” and “Pearl Harbor” scribe Randall Wallace. Gibson and his Icon partner Bruce Davey are producing and financing the pic, with Paramount distributing domestically.

Gibson sparked to the prospect of working with Shyamalan and the “Signs” storyline, about the sudden appearance of mysterious crop circles at a family’s farm in Bucks County, Pa. Like “The Sixth Sense” and “Unbreakable,” the film has supernatural overtones.

Gibson’s ICM agent Ed Limato was moving toward making a straight acting deal last week with Icon uninvolved. Spyglass partnered with Disney on Shyamalan’s last two films, with its “Sixth Sense” investment putting Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber’s company on the map.