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Fox buys novel ‘Soul’ for Underwood to star

Famuyiwa to rewrite draft about immortals

Fox Searchlight has acquired the Tananarive Due novel “My Soul to Keep” and has locked Blair Underwood to star and Rick Famuyiwa to direct.

Famuyiwa, who last directed “The Wood” and “Brown Sugar,” will rewrite a draft by Frank Underwood. He is the brother of the film’s star, and the Searchlight deal comes after a five-year quest by the actor to mount the movie. It began when the author sent him the book and told him she’d written the lead character with him in mind.

“It’s about an man who came from an ancient village in Ethiopia and has lived for five centuries, watching everyone he loves age and die,” Blair Underwood said. “He wants to make his wife and child immortal, but there are 50 immortals just like him who are against it and usually kill those who find out about them. His wife is an investigative reporter, and while the story is a supernatural thriller, it’s also about the notion of unconditional love.”

Underwood originally planned to direct the book himself and shot footage in Africa for the flashback scenes of the immortal’s early days. Those will be used in the pic, which Underwood will produce through his Eclectic Entertainment banner with Tim Reid and Strange Fruit Prods. partners Nia Hill and Deangela Steed. Searchlight’s Zola Mashiriki will oversee the pic.

Best known for “L.A. Law,” Underwood just returned to the small screen for four steamy episodes of “Sex and the City.” He said he’s under orders not to reveal which of the foursome he romances, but offered a hint.

“She’s red hot, we’ve shown a lot of flesh, and we are in the sack by the second episode.” Since an encounter with Kim Cattrall’s publicist character would have put them in bed within the first episode, the smart bet is he’s bedding Cynthia Nixon. Underwood’s episode arc begins Aug. 17.