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Mandy, Par ‘Pair’ up

Teen thriller set as thesp's 'Liberty' opens

Paramount Pictures has made a deal to acquire “Au Pair,” a thriller that will star Mandy Moore, whose third film, “Chasing Liberty,” opens today.

The film is being called a reverse “Hand That Rocks the Cradle,” with Moore playing a teen who takes a job watching the two children in what seems like an ideal household. She finds deception and danger instead.

Pic came together as a co-production between Landscape Entertainment’s Bob Cooper and Crispy Films head Jonathan Schwartz. Karen Lunder, who brought in the project for Landscape, will also produce.

The deal came with a first script draft that was written by Judy Klass, a Brooklyn-based writer-professor who hatched the concept. The studio will look to bring in a writer to script a new draft. The film will also get a new title.

Schwartz is a former ICM business affairs lawyer who ran Peter Gabriel’s Real World shingle. He established Crispy last year with a DreamWorks deal for “Mark Twain Remembers,” a Ronald Harwood-scripted pic that will star James Franco.

He took “Au Pair” to Cooper, whose Landscape has cultivated a slew of comic vehicles with stars like Will Ferrell and Jim Carrey. The time was right for a thriller.

“It came to our attention when we were completing ‘Sleepover,’ a comedy targeted toward young girls, with Alexa Vega from ‘Spy Kids,’ ” Cooper said. “I thought we hadn’t seen a smart thriller for young women in some time, and Mandy was this very grounded teenager who we thought would be perfect for a concept that is like ‘What Lies Beneath’ for young woman. This teenager goes to a Norman Rockwell-like home only to find that inside all is not well.”

“Chasing Liberty” marks the third film for the singer-turned actress. She made her debut in the sleeper hit “A Walk to Remember,” then followed with “How to Deal.” She next stars in the John Turturro-directed musical “Romance and Cigarettes,” alongside James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon and Kate Winslet.

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