Par adopts ‘Con’ laffer

Producers eye writer, director for urban comedy

HOLLYWOOD — Paramount has decided it wants to “Adopt-a-Con,” setting up the long-gestating comedy for Walter Latham and David Permut to produce.

“Good projects never die,” said Permut, who first developed the project at MGM/UA in 1986. “This was always a gold nugget of an idea and I’m delighted we’ve now got it at Paramount.”

Latham, who has a first-look deal at Par, and Permut are seeking a writer and director for “Adopt-a-Con” to target urban sensibilities with an African-American lead.

The original project was inspired by a Florida penal program in which families — often relatives — took in minimum-security criminals 90 days prior to their release in order to alleviate prison overcrowding and reacclimate convicts to life outside jail.

In the pic’s scenario, the convict would be placed with a seemingly ideal family under the guise of giving the children a real-life education. But the family turns out to be highly dysfunctional, headed by a scam artist father and his neglected wife, leading the convict wishing he could go back to jail.

Robert Kosberg will exec produce the project, which was brought in by Steve Karie. Permut VP of production Steve Longi is overseeing development and will co-produce.

It’s the second teaming at Paramount for Latham and Permut, who set up romantic comedy “Rewind” last year at Par (Daily Variety, Aug. 20, 2003).

Latham co-produced “Martin Lawrence Live: Runteldat” and produced “The Original Kings of Comedy.”

Permut was a producer on Par’s “Face/Off.”

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