Lion pulling ‘Con’ job

Hughes to helm project based on investigative article

Albert Hughes has signed to direct “Art Con,” an MGM film being developed by Michael Douglas’ Furthur Films as a potential star vehicle for the actor in which he’d play a charming con man who masterminds ambitious art fraud scandals.

Latest draft of the script was written by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who scripted the 007 pic “Die Another Day” and will pen the script for the next installment of the Bond franchise for MGM.

Hughes is coming aboard a project based on “Art Con of the Century,” an investigative article in the New York Times Magazine written by Peter Landesman about John Drewe, a charismatic con man who in 1986 engaged a free-spirited painter-songwriter named John Myatt to forge paintings by master artists.

Myatt was so good that he routinely fooled respected art experts with his bogus canvases, and Drewe made a fortune brokering 200 fake masterpieces over a nine-year period.

Douglas has always wanted to play a gentleman thief, and with Marcy Drogan, his Further Films banner set the pic up two years ago with Empire Pictures’ Michael Birnbaum.

Hughes is best known for pairing with brother Allen to direct such films as “Menace II Society,” “Dead Presidents” and “From Hell,” but the siblings have also begun directing films on their own.

MGM’s Elizabeth Ingold is steering the project.

Douglas hasn’t fully committed yet, and he’s in no hurry to work. He’s staying close to home with his children as wife Catherine Zeta-Jones does back-to-back films in “Ocean’s Twelve” and the sequel to “The Mask of Zorro.”

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