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Veteran British producer Beryl Vertue is philosophical about the abortive efforts of Intermedia to set up her amnesia thriller “Me Again.”

Perhaps she can afford to be. Intermedia’s option to finance the pic written by her son-in-law Steven Moffat and to be directed by Dean Parisot, lasts only until December. If it isn’t cast, greenlit and into pre-production by then, Vertue regains control of the project, and she’s confident of getting it made elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Intermedia is facing a $2.7 million lawsuit from actress Diane Lane over its alleged failure to honor her pay-or-play deal. The company is still looking for a leading man to replace Bruce Willis, who dropped out in April, two months before the movie was originally set to shoot. As yet, talk of Nicolas Cage or Mel Gibson has come to nothing.

Despite being the only credited producer, Vertue seems to have little faith in the efforts that Intermedia says it’s still making to pull the project together. Like Lane, Vertue claims the company owes her money.

“I expect the film will be made in due course, but not with Intermedia,” Vertue says. “It’s a wonderful script, we’ve made very good friends with Dean Parisot and lots of people are keen to do it. I shall wait.”

“Me Again” is Moffat’s debut screenplay after making his name with the BBC sitcom “Coupling,” produced by Vertue’s Hartswood Films. They are in the midst of co-producing the U.S. remake, which airs on NBC this fall and already is garnering huge media attention Stateside for its boundary-pushing sexual content.

That TV collaboration (with Ben Silverman‘s Reveille) has so far proved a happy contrast to the problems with “Me Again,” Vertue’s first movie project since she exec produced “Tommy” back in 1975.

At first, everything went swimmingly. Having developed Moffat’s script with BBC Films, Vertue took it to Guy East, Intermedia’s now-departed founder. Willis signed up for the lead role as a man trying to remember whether he’s an assassin or an undercover cop, and Lane came aboard as the FBI agent he falls for.

It all unraveled when Willis ankled during pre-production after Intermedia tried to squeeze his fees — reportedly $25 million for his acting services and $5 million for his producing partners. Lane lodged her suit July 28, alleging Intermedia never had the finance in place to support her pay-or-play deal. Her agency, Endeavor, is boycotting the company until the dispute is settled.

Vertue confesses to being bemused by Intermedia’s handling of the project. She claims Moffat’s contractual right to do first rewrites for star and director were ignored. Several rewrites were commissioned from other scribes and then discarded.

“It was all very weird and Hollywood-y,” she says. “Writers came from left and right, and then went off. It seemed like a waste of money. It has been a salutary experience.”

Meanwhile, she’s content to bide her time and concentrate on “Coupling,” both the U.S. version and a new U.K. tranche. Of course, if that show delivers on its hype, the heat around Moffat could make a big difference in finally getting “Me Again” off the ground — with or without Intermedia.

Fox hunts “Bismarck”

Brit writer John Collee is the nautical man of the moment. Having co-written Peter Weir‘s “Master and Commander” for Fox, based on Patrick O’Brien’s novels of early 19th-century naval life, he is penning a new adaptation of C.S. Forester’s “Sink the Bismarck” for the same studio. Pic, being set up as a co-production between Fox and DreamWorks, is a remake of the 1960 Fox movie of the same title, which starred Kenneth More in the true-life WWII story of how the Royal Navy hunted down the German super-battleship Bismarck.