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U takes terrorist tale

Grazer goes back to 'School'

Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment have acquired the film rights to “The School,” a C.J. Chivers article in Esquire’s June issue about the siege of a Russian elementary school by heavily armed Chechen rebels.

Brian Grazer will produce the adaptation.

Chivers, the Moscow correspondent for the New York Times, covered the ordeal as it unfolded over three days in 2004, ending with the deaths of about 300 of the 1,100 hostages; 31 terrorists also were killed.

Chivers returned to the town of Beslan 18 months later to interview the survivors, whose viewpoints give “The School” an emotional thrust and its movie potential. In a statement, Grazer said the article “captures for the first time the human aspect of a horrendous event.” The story “cried out to be told on the bigscreen.” He was en route to Cannes for the premiere of “The Da Vinci Code” and unavailable for further comment.

Movie deal was generated just before the publication of the article by Gotham-based Imagine exec Karen Kehela Sherwood and U production prexy Jon Gordon. Chivers rep Stuart Krichevsky and UTA made the deal.

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