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U plays scribe duo’s ‘Games’

Script is first acquisition for prod'n veep Saccani

Execs-turned-scribes David Cohen and Tony Lord have sold spec script “Head Games” in a six-figure deal to Universal Pictures for Peter Guber’s Mandalay Pictures to produce.

Laffer turns on a psychiatrist whose life gets upended when he inherits the disorders of his group therapy patients.

Script is the first acquisition made by U’s newly hired production veep Damien Saccani, who will oversee development under U vice chair Scott Stuber.

“Head Games” marks the second spec Lord and Cohen have sold since switching sides of the desk. Last spring, Summit bought their first effort, “Black Sabbath,” a horror film about a cop who has to escape from hell (Daily Variety, March 13).

Lord had been a producer, and Cohen did time as a development exec at Mike Ovitz’s APG. Now they find themselves pitching their former colleagues — and assistants. “Thank God we were nice to them,” said Cohen.

Lessons learned on the business side made it important for the duo to pen a comedy to follow-up “Black Sabbath.”

“Everyone we met with wanted us to do another horror story,” Cohen said.

But, Lord added, “In our experience, we know how easy it is to get pigeonholed.”

While focusing on his scribe career, Lord has continued as a producer for a couple projects. He and producing partner Matt Weaver are working on “The Harlem Globetrotter Story” for Columbia Pictures and Davis Entertainment. Penny Marshall is attached to direct, with “CSI” creator Anthony Zuiker scripting. At DreamWorks, Lord and Weaver are still developing “The Seven-Day Itch,” a remake of Elaine May’s classic “The Heartbreak Kid.”

Duo is repped by BWCS and Flashpoint Entertainment.

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