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Gracey to helm Hugh Jackman’s Barnum pic

Fox's 'Greatest Showman on Earth' features Jackman as the circus icon

Just weeks after signing on to direct Disney’s revisionist Snow White pic “The Order of the Seven,” commercials helmer and vfx veteran Michael Gracey has become attached to direct Hugh Jackman in 20th Century Fox’s P.T. Barnum pic “The Greatest Showman on Earth.”

Jenny Bicks (“Sex and the City”) wrote the original contemporary musical, which Jackman is producing with his former producing partner John Palermo and Laurence Mark (“Dreamgirls”). Project came about after Jackman, Mark and Bicks worked together on the 81st Academy Awards, which Jackman hosted, Mark exec produced and Bicks helped write.

Jackman will play Barnum, a showman with a penchant for hoaxing a gullible public, who becomes famous for creating the three-ring circus. Musical also focuses on his infatuation with Swedish opera singer Jenny Lind. That role that has not yet been cast.

Project was announced in August 2009 and will likely remain in development a while longer, as Jackman is committed to filming James Mangold’s “The Wolverine” for Fox and is expected to topline Tom Hooper’s adaptation of “Les Miserables” for Universal.

Gracey will soon begin storyboarding Disney’s live-action, China-set Snow White epic, which aims to start production next year. Helmer was an animator at Animal Logic (“Happy Feet”) before he embarked on a commercials career that has seen him directing award-winning spots for T-Mobile and Lipton.

Gracey is repped by CAA, Partizan and Hirsch Wallerstein.

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