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McConaughey Doubling Up with Two-Picture Deal

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New Line Cinema is in negotiations to sign Matthew McConaughey to a two-picture deal, with one being a resurrected "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" and the other a Southern-fried comedic action movie titled "The Grackle."

In October 2003, "Ghost of Girlfriends Past" was four weeks away from production -- with Ben Affleck attached to star -- when its studio, the Walt Disney Co., pulled the plug, putting it into turnaround. New Line is now in negotiations with Jon Shestack, one of the original producers, to serve as a producer.

New Line had a similar project in development but liked the idea of pairing a high-concept-driven romantic comedy with McConaughey, a proven rom-com star, seeing the project as something that could have broad appeal.

The script, by Josh Lucas and Scott Moore, tells the story of a commitment-phobic guy who is visited by ghosts of girlfriends past, present and future and through that journey discovers he is in love with his childhood sweetheart.

Cale Boyter and Sam Brown are overseeing for New Line.

"Grackle" follows a good-old boy bar fighter in New Orleans who gets into trouble when his arch enemy gets out of prison and targets him for revenge. The script, described as a throwback to movies like "Road House," is written by attorneys Mike Arnold, who lives in Boulder, Colo., and Chris Poole, who resides in Chattanooga, Tenn. Producing is j.k. livin prods. McConaughey's production shingle.

Boyter and Jeff Katz are overseeing for the studio.

Mark O'Connor, a high school friend of Arnold's who is now an exec at 20th Century Fox, passed the script to j.k. livin and manager Allen Fischer of Principato-Young. After a quick polish, the script was sent out to studios, resulting in a five-company bidding war and a sale price of $750,000.

McConaughey, meanwhile, recently had attached himself to the revived "Girlfriends," which was being sent out at the same as "Grackle." New Line moved quickly to nab both.

Arnold and Poole additionally are repped by CAA and Stone Meyer and Genow.

McConaughey, who most recently appeared in "Failure to Launch" and recently wrapped the drama "We Are Marshall," is repped by CAA.


Borys Kit writes for The Hollywood Reporter.

For more news from The Hollywood Reporter, click here.

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