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Witherspoon may be ‘City’ slicker

Thesp hears 'London' calling

Universal has optioned screen rights to “London Is the Best City in America,” a novel by Laura Dave that will be developed as a star vehicle for Reese Witherspoon.

Witherspoon and Type A partner Jennifer Simpson will produce the film with Mandalay Pictures. Gwyn Lurie has been set to write the script.

Protagonist is a young woman stuck in neutral after dumping her fiance. She works in a fishing-tackle shop while cobbling together a documentary about the wives of fisherman and is called home for the wedding of her brother.

Since basing their company at Universal, Witherspoon and Simpson have set up numerous projects, including the Leslie Schnur novel “The Dog Walker,” “Bunny Lake Is Missing” and “The Sports Widow,” which is expected to be the first pic they get into production. U exec Holly Bario will supervise with Mandalay exec veep Elizabeth Stephen.

Lurie scripted “The Man Who Ate the 747” at WB, and did a pass on “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

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