Cassavetes to pump ‘Iron’ for New Line

New Line, Marvel sign 'Iron' man

New Line Cinema and Marvel Studios have signed Nick Cassavetes to direct “Iron Man,” a feature based on the Marvel character.

Although Cassavetes is currently shooting “Alpha Dog,” Marvel and New Line plan to begin casting immediately. The film is scheduled for a 2006 bow.

Based on the long-running Marvel comic book series, “Iron Man” is the story of Tony Stark, a driven inventor and executive who straps on billions of dollars in armor and weaponry each night to fight crime, terrorism and corporate espionage.

The project, being produced by Marvel CEO Avi Arad and Angry Films’ Don Murphy, is based on a script by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, and David Hayter.

New Line and Marvel first worked together on “Blade” in 1998. The franchise’s third installment, “Blade: Trinity,” will bow Dec. 8.

Cassavetes’ most recent pic, “The Notebook,” earned $81 million for New Line this summer in its domestic release. He also directed “John Q” for the studio.

New Line production president Toby Emmerich is overseeing “Iron Man” for New Line along with the studio’s senior VP of production Stokely Chaffin, VP George Waud and creative exec Jeff Katz. Spearheading the production for Marvel are Kevin Feige and Ari Arad.