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Par, Thornton Take Field for 'Bears'

Continuing to mine its library for potential remakes, Paramount Pictures is mounting a redo of the 1976 Walter Matthau starrer "The Bad News Bears," this time with Billy Bob Thornton in the leading role.

The original feature starred Matthau as the coach of a Little League team of misfits that he turns into a winner.

Joining Thornton on "Bears" are Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, the writers and creative team responsible for Thornton's recent hit, "Bad Santa," in which Thornton played a larcenous department store Santa. Ficarra and Requa -- who are being paid $900,000 against $1.75 million for the "Bears" script -- are at work on the screenplay.

The project will be produced by Geyer Kosinski as a Geyer Kosinski production. The idea for the remake originated with Industry Entertainment's Brad Marks, who brought it to Kosinski.

"I thought it was a great idea for Billy to do the Matthau character," Kosinski said. "Ficarra and Requa did a great job on 'Bad Santa.' (Paramount execs) Donald De Line and Ali Brecker were really cooperative and helpful."

Ficarra and Requa are due to make their directorial debut with "Jack Tucker, Trucker" for GreeneStreet Prods. with Woody Harrelson in the starring role. Their other projects include "Old McDonald" for Bob Simonds/Warners Bros. Pictures and Warners' "Cats & Dogs."

Ficarra and Requa are represented by Endeavor, Benderspink and attorney Jeff Frankel of Colden, Frankel and McKuin. Thornton is repped by CAA.

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