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Butler's Script Sale of the Week...

Not a bad week. Frank Darabont taking over the writing and directing reins on FAHRENHEIT 451 is GREAT news. As long as he doesn't tack on an extra hour. (Sometimes the Green Mile REALLY IS a long one). JINN sounds like it could be cool, but maybe I'm just partial to flicks set in Beantown.

My pick this week is going to have to be Paramount's acquisition of the 1983 war novel THE WAR MAGICIAN by David Fisher.

Tom Cruise is going to be producing and starring in this baby so we know right off the bat that it's going to be a big deal. That's not a bad thing, especially with a story as interesting as this one.

The book concerned the life of Jasper Maskelyne, a British music hall master of illusion, who, when WW II broke out decided he would "mobilize the world of magic against Hitler." Lord Gort, the Inspector-General of the British Army was skeptical of the magician cum soldier, but Maskelyne won him over by creating the illusion of a German warship floating on the Thames using only mirrors and a scale model. He was soon placed in charge of the Royal Engineers Camouflage Corps and with his "Magic Gang" traveled to Egypt to bamboozle the enemy. Once there he would "hide" the Suez Canal and disguise the British Forces, thus saving countless Allied lives.

No writer is attached of yet and I have a feeling whoever they get could make or break this project. Cruise is more than capable of handling the acting duties (as long as he keeps Maskelyne British and manages a better English accent than his Irish one in FAR AND AWAY) and the story itself is more interesting than most of the fluff Hollywood churns out. A brilliant script and this could really rock. Cruise hired Robert Towne to write WITHOUT LIMITS, maybe he could ask him back again.

Regardless, this will be one big budget flick to keep an eye on.

-- Edward Butler

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