While most studios would love to have Adam Sandler's next film, it looks likely that that picture will be shared by rivals New Line and Columbia.
The studios are in talks to co-produce a comic script that started life as an homage to Frank Capra's 1936 classic ``Mr. Deeds Goes to Town.'' The reason for sharing: Columbia owns the script, but New Line has the actor's next movie.
The new project was written by Sandler's partner, Tim Herlihy. While the original ``Mr. Deeds'' followed a small-town poet who inherits a fortune and sets New York on its ear with his unflagging honesty, Herlihy reportedly ended up with a script that bears little relation to the original film; it will bear an original title and not be considered a remake.
New Line, which just completed production on Sandler's November release ``Little Nicky,'' has the lock on his next acting job and has developed several vehicles with him. One is a comedy written by Paul Thomas Anderson (''Magnolia''), who is a big Sandler fan and who would direct the film, with Emily Watson possibly co-starring. Another is ``The Five Johnsons,'' a comedy in which Sandler would play multiple roles.
While those are certainly viable options for Sandler, the film he'd like to make is the one that Herlihy wrote at Columbia. The studio just got strong test scores for ``Joe Dirt,'' the David Spade comedy that Sandler and his Happy Madison partner Jack Giarraputo produced. The movie is penciled in for an April 2001 release.
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