Par, Law are raising Caine

Romantic comedy remake to be career-best payoff

Paramount Pictures is negotiating with Jude Law to topline “Alfie,” a remake of the 1966 romantic comedy about a womanizer forced to rethink his superficial existence. Charles Shyer, who wrote the script with Elaine Pope, is directing.

Law is getting all kinds of offers amid high expectations for the Anthony Minghella-directed “Cold Mountain.” The British actor is expected to make his “Alfie” commitment shortly and will be paid a career-best sum of around $10 million; a final figure has not been reached.

“Alfie” would rep Law’s second role originated by Michael Caine. Law and producing partner Tom Sternberg aligned themselves last week to a Castle Rock remake of the Anthony Shaffer play “Sleuth.” Harold Pinter is writing the script, and Law will take the hairdresser part created by Caine, who may play the other lead, taken by Laurence Olivier in the 1972 film.

Caine received an Oscar nomination for his title role in “Alfie.” Shyer and Pope set up the comedy remake at Paramount early last year; they will produce and keep intact the device in which Alfie gives his thoughts on women, sex and relationships to the camera. The film has been contemporized to reflect the changing times. Shyer and Pope are producing.

Law’s dance card is filling up. Currently starring alongside Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie in the Kerry Conran-directed sci-fi adventure “The World of Tomorrow,” thesp is also expected to join Natalie Portman and possibly Cate Blanchett and Clive Owen in a Mike Nichols-directed adaptation of the Patrick Marber play “Closer” at Columbia.

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