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Col, Smith get hitched to hero pic

Ngo script resurrected by Goldsman, Saperstein

Eager to find another vehicle for its “Hitch” star, Columbia Pictures is negotiating to finance “Tonight, He Comes” as a star vehicle for Will Smith.

Jonathan Mostow will direct the story of a superhero who crash-lands in Sheepshead Bay, N.Y., and causes chaos as he romances a local housewife in an attempt to revitalize himself.

Scripted six years ago by Vincent Ngo, “Tonight, He Comes” has long been considered one of the better unmade scripts in town. It was resurrected by Akiva Goldsman and ex-Artisan exec Richard Saperstein, who signed Michael Mann to direct. Mann will instead produce the film with Goldsman. Overbrook Entertainment partners Smith and James Lassiter are also expected to be involved in producing capacities.

Mostow supervised a 10-page take on the film geared specifically to Smith, which hooked the actor.

Vince Gilligan has already done a rewrite and will script another draft under Mostow’s supervision once the Col deal is finalized.

Neither Smith nor Mostow has committed to making “Tonight, He Comes” as their next pic. A holiday 2006 release is being eyed.

Though several studios have been interested in the project, Columbia has been the front-runner for the project for the past few weeks because of the studio’s relationship with Smith and Lassiter. Fox was among several other studios that moved aggressively after Goldsman got the project from Artisan in turnaround. The package gained steam this week after Smith once again proved his marquee value with a $43 million opening weekend on “Hitch,” his first attempt at a romantic comedy.

Mostow is developing several projects, including an untitled Paramount thriller he wrote, as well as “Terminator 4.”

A writer-producer of “The X-Files,” Gilligan also wrote “Home Fries” and was a writer on “Robbery Homicide Division,” the series that Mann exec produced.

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