Ford etched into ‘Tombstones’

Jersey Films' DeVito, Shamberg, Sher to produce

Harrison Ford and “Narc” director Joe Carnahan will take “A Walk Among the Tombstones,” as both negotiate to join the Scott Frank-scripted Universal adaptation of the Lawrence Block novel, due to start in January.

Ford will play Matthew Scudder, a cop-turned-private eye who is hired by a Brooklyn drug dealer to find the men who kidnapped and butchered his wife. Scudder is the protagonist in a series of Block novels, one of which, “8 Million Ways to Die,” was previously turned into a film.

Jersey Films partners Danny DeVito, Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher are producing “Tombstones.”

Frank, who previously did acclaimed screen adaptations of Elmore Leonard’s novels “Get Shorty” and “Out of Sight,” turned in a draft of “Tombstones” that caught the eye of Ford. Thesp, who’ll next be seen in the Intermedia-financed Paramount release “K-19: The Widowmaker,” sparked to the script (Daily Variety, April 24), and seemed ready to star if the right director emerged.

Both the actor and the studio responded strongly to Carnahan and “Narc,” the gritty Ray Liotta-Jason Patric drama that bowed at Sundance. Paramount and Lions Gate jointly picked up the film for distribution later this year.

“Narc” is about a suspended undercover narcotics officer (Patric), who tries to solve a cop’s murder with the slain officer’s revenge-minded partner (Liotta). Ford just approved Carnahan for the job.

Ford’s reps, Patricia McQueeney and UTA, are working out a deal for the actor, with Carnahan’s reps at Endeavor and TEG close to a deal with U.

Ford now has filled his dance card for the year. He previously committed to star in an untitled Revolution Studios crime drama that was scripted and will be directed by Ron Shelton, likely co-starring Josh Hartnett.

Also in the wings are plans to reprise his Indiana Jones role in a fourth installment of the franchise. George Lucas and Steven Spielberg have hatched a story and are working out a deal with Paramount while they look for a writer. Tom Stoppard was courted but now seems unlikely to take the job, as he’s engaged on other projects.