EXCLUSIVE: As Summit Entertainment moves closer to a domestic distribution deal on his Valerie Plame drama Fair Game, director Doug Liman is circling Gambit, a Joel and Ethan Coen-scripted remake of the 1966 British caper comedy which originally starred Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine. Producer Mike Lobell has been trying to get the project made for years, and Liman is an intriguing choice. Caine played a cat burglar who tries to rob a billionaire of his priceless statue and enlists the help of a waitress who is a dead ringer for the victim’s late wife. While the burglar has carefully planned the job in his head, the execution is complicated by his relationship with his pretty accomplice. Liman is circling several projects, including an untitled moon mission project at Paramount with Jake Gyllenhaal and The Three Musketeers. The director’s most pressing engagement is Cannes, where Fair Game will premiere in competition next month. Naomi Watts stars as Plame, whose covert CIA status was leaked by the Bush Administration after her husband Joseph Wilson began writing op-ed pieces charging that intelligence on weapons of mass destruction was manipulated to sell the invasion of Iraq. Sean Penn plays Wilson. River Road, Participant Media and Imagenation stepped in to finance the film when Warner Bros dropped out. Summit, which showed it had the mettle to mount an Oscar campaign with Best Picture winner The Hurt Locker, hasn’t completely sewn up a deal yet but is a logical distributor: Summit’s Patrick Wachsberger is already selling overseas territories on the film. CAA is finalizing the distribution a deal that should be completed by the time Liman boards a plane to France.
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