Ford, Intermedia reteam

Nicholson to pen script; Gonzales Inarritu may develop

Harrison Ford is teaming with Intermedia Films for the second time as both star and producer, this time to portray maverick humanitarian worker Fred Cuny.

“Amores Perros” helmer Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu is in negotiations to develop the project, with “Gladiator” scribe William Nicholson penning the screenplay.

Ford, Doug Wick’s Red Wagon Prods. and award-winning documentarian David Fanning will produce the project, which traces Cuny’s heroic life and tragic death.

Cuny is something of a legend in the humanitarian aid community for his relief efforts that helped change the way the way workers respond to war- and disaster-ravaged nations like Biafra, Guatemala and Bosnia. In April 1995, Cuny is believed to have been executed after disappearing with two Russian doctors and an interpreter while attempting to negotiate a Russian-Chechnyan cease-fire.

Roots in PBS docu

Project has its genesis with Ford, who narrated Fanning’s 1997 “Frontline” documentary on Cuny, “The Lost American.” After the actor began working with Intermedia on the upcoming “K-19: The Widowmaker,” he and his longtime manager, Pat McQueeny, pitched the idea of a Cuny biopic. Ford also brought the project to Wick, with whom he previously collaborated on the 1988 hit and best picture Oscar nominee “Working Girl.”

“Ford has been the driving force behind the Cuny project,” Wick told Daily Variety. “He felt the story must be told.”

Nicholson is penning the screenplay based on the documentary and Cuny’s life rights, with Intermedia eyeing a spring 2003 production start. Intermedia Films production president Basil Iwanyk is overseeing the project.

“Cuny personified the American belief that we can make a difference and that it is our duty to make a difference,” Sinclair said. “Fred Cuny was a character, an American hero, and Intermedia is privileged to have a chance to tell this story.”

“K-19: The Widowmaker,” which was directed by Kathryn Bigelow with Ford as both star and executive producer, will be released through Paramount this summer.

Intermedia co-chairmen Moritz Borman, Guy East and Nigel Sinclair will serve as executive producers of the Cuny project. Pic will be an Intermedia-IMF production for Intermedia Films.

Ford is repped by UTA, Inarritu by Endeavor.

(Jonathan Bing contributed to this report.)

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