Vin Diesel to star in ‘Wheelman’

John Singleton to direct videogame adaptation

Paramount Pictures is accelerating its efforts to put “Fast and Furious” star Vin Diesel back behind the wheel of a fast car.

Studio has set John Singleton to direct and Lorenzo di Bonaventura to produce “The Wheelman,” a live-action adaptation of the Ubisoft vidgame “Wheelman.” The videogame launched last month, with Diesel as its main character and the game’s producer.

Diesel will play an expert driver who comes out of retirement to protect a woman from his past.

Rich Wilkes wrote the script; the writing team of Oliver Butcher and Stephen Cornwell did a rewrite.

Di Bonaventura will produce with Diesel and his One Race Films partner Samantha Vincent.

Paramount first got involved in the project in 2006; at the time, the partnership was hailed as one of the biggest between a vidgame publisher and a studio. Sumner Redstone owned both Midway Games and Paramount, and the plan was to launch the “Wheelman” game and movie in close proximity. Redstone unloaded his 87% stake in Midway late last year in a debt restructuring move, and the vidgame moved to Ubisoft.

Singleton knows his way around a car chase, having directed “2 Fast 2 Furious,” the sequel that Diesel skipped.

Di Bonaventura produced Paramount’s summer pics “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” set for June 24 release, and “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,” opening Aug. 7. Di Bonaventura is currently shooting the Angelina Jolie starrer “Salt” for Columbia Pictures.

CAA repped the participants.

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