Sonnenfeld poised for ‘Noise’

Helmer also set to steer 'Money for Nothing'

Barry Sonnenfeld has teamed with Cherry Road Films for his longtime passion project, Don DeLillo’s “White Noise,” which he will direct and produce.

Also for Cherry Road, he will direct Donald Westlake’s “Money for Nothing,” with “Taxi” scribe Jim Kouf aboard to adapt.

Sonnenfeld first optioned “White Noise” — winner of the 1985 National Book Award — in 1999, while still based at Disney with then-partner Barry Josephson. Stephen Schiff adapted the script.

After the Disney option lapsed, Scott Rudin optioned the book for Sonnenfeld. When that term ended, the filmmaker teamed with Cherry Road.

Prior to Sonnenfeld’s involvement, “White Noise” was set up at HBO and at James Brooks’ Gracie Films.

Sonnenfeld told Daily Variety that casting would begin immediately. In the meantime, he’s hoping that DeLillo’s book will regain sole claim over its title, “White Noise.” It’s currently sharing the moniker with a Gold Circle/Senator Intl. thriller that stars Michael Keaton and will be released through Universal Pictures in January.

“We’re in the middle of heated negotiation,” he said. “I desperately hope that Universal will do the right thing. In return, I’ll direct an episode of ‘Columbo.’ ”

“White Noise” is a dark comedy in which a professor must contend with a wife who’s possibly drug-addled, four kids who are too progressive for anyone’s good and a chemical plant that has accidentally released a cloud of potentially lethal gas.

“Money for Nothing” is likewise a dark comedy, but about a young New Yorker who discovers a foreign rogue group has mistakenly identified him as a sleeper agent.

Cherry Road optioned the Westlake novel late last year, shortly after partnering with Warner Independent Pictures to create a development fund that covers up to 10 projects a year for two years.

Cherry Road CEO Bo Hyde, president Kendall Morgan and Sonnenfeld will produce “White Noise.” Hyde, Morgan and VP of development and acquisitions Tommaso Fiacchino, who brought the project into the company, will produce “Money for Nothing.”

Cherry Road produced Lions Gate’s upcoming “Eulogy,” starring Ray Romano, and is in pre-production on Richard Kelly’s “Southland Tales,” starring Sean William Scott and Sarah Michelle Gellar.

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