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Damon’s ‘Good’ for U

Matt to staff 'Good Shepherd'

Matt Damon will replace Leonardo DiCaprio in Robert De Niro’s passion project “The Good Shepherd,” and Morgan Creek is negotiating a deal to handle the pic’s foreign rights.

Universal Pictures remains onboard to distribute the film in North America. If all deals close, the film could keep its March 7 start date.

Earlier this month, Graham King’s Initial Entertainment Group pulled out of financing the pic, which was written by Eric Roth and was slated to star DiCaprio and De Niro. (Daily Variety, Nov. 11)

A history of the CIA as seen through the eyes of a career agent, the film was already in pre-production. However, with a budget north of $110 million, the foreign market found it tough to accommodate the drama..

De Niro serves as the film’s producer as well as director and star. De Niro’s partner in Tribeca Prods., Jane Rosenthal, also produces. Francis Ford Coppola, Rick Schwartz and Chris Brigham are credited as executive producers.

Damon most recently shot “Syriana” opposite his “Ocean’s Twelve” co-star, George Clooney. He’s also slated to star in Martin Scorsese’s next film, “The Departed” for Warner Bros. Pictures.

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