The Raven is looking closer to achieving lift off. Gerard Butler is in deep negotiations to play the lead in the sci-fi conspiracy thriller that Ricardo de Montreuil is set to direct for Gold Circle Films and Universal Pictures. The feature, based on a 2010 short film by de Montreuil and Antonio Perez, was penned by Michael Gilio and Justin Marks. Butler is the second actor in as many months named for the movie’s potential lead; The Hunger Games’ Liam Hemsworth had been in talks before. Universal picked up rights to the short in late 2010. The studio and Gold Circle will co-finance the feature, which Gold Circle will produce and Universal will distribute worldwide Paul Brooks will produce for Gold Circle with COO Scott Niemeyer executive producing. Mark Wahlberg will produce alongside Steve Levinson, who originally brought the project to the studio. Nick Osborne, Trevor Engelson and Oly Obst will executive produce for Underground Films. Butler is repped by CAA and Alan Siegel Entertainment.