MGM bonding for ‘Mexicali’

Lion, Brosnan pact for pic which eyes prod'n start in '04

While he is not scheduled to reprise his 007 role until the 21st James Bond film begins production in January 2005, Pierce Brosnan is making a deal that will reteam him with MGM next year. He’ll star in “Mexicali,” an action thriller that will mark the directorial debut of film editor Pietro Scalia, whose credits include “Black Hawk Down,” “Gladiator,” “Good Will Hunting” and “JFK.”

MGM just picked up the project, which Screen Gems developed and put in turnaround. The studio quickly began negotiations with Brosnan and Scalia, with an eye toward starting production in 2004.

The film was scripted by Christian Gudegast and Paul Scheuring, the duo who wrote Vin Diesel starrer “A Man Apart.” Patrick Kelly, who scripted the MGM pic “Man on the Ledge,” has been brought in for a rewrite.

Producing the pic are Mostow/Lieberman’s Hal Lieberman; Newman/Tooley partners Vincent Newman and Tucker Tooley; and Beau St. Clair, who partners with Brosnan under their Irish Dreamtime banner. Jonathan Mostow will be exec producer.

Brosnan will play a successful businessman who witnesses a murder while on a sailboat with his wife off the coast of Baja. After she goes missing, he must save her and make his way back across the border before the killers catch up with him.

MGM’s Toby Jaffe and Quentin Curtis are steering the pic.

Brosnan is about to begin work with Salma Hayek and director Brett Ratner on “After the Sunset.” MGM, meanwhile, is mobilizing the next Bond pic. No director has been named, but a holiday 2005 release date has already been carved out, and a treatment and outline have been worked up by “Die Another Day” scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.

Mostow/Lieberman just produced “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” and is in post-production on the Walden Media-financed adventure film “Around the World in 80 Days.”

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