Director Levy is 'Back' with Searchlight pic

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Helmer Shawn Levy will follow up his big-budget, special effects-laden hit "Night at the Museum" with the modest, character-driven comedy "The Way Back" for Fox Searchlight.

Penned by Jim Rash and Nat Faxon, the coming-of-age story centers on a 15-year-old boy's passage into young adulthood over the course of a fateful summer when his family rents a beach house.

Levy and Tom McNulty will produce through their Fox-based 21 Laps shingle. Peter Principato and Paul Young also are producing.

Hot on the heels of the success of 20th Century Fox's "Museum," which has earned more than $570 million worldwide, Levy had his pick of scripts from the major studios.

But Fox Searchlight president of production Claudia Lewis said the bittersweet comedy will make a perfect fit for Levy. "He brings such vim and vigor to his comedies," she said. "And this project really hearkens back to some of his earlier work."

With Levy's involvement, the specialty label is putting the project on the fast track. Shooting is scheduled to begin in mid-June.

The in-demand director's film credits include last year's "The Pink Panther" and 2003's "Cheaper by the Dozen." He is attached to helm the Ben Stiller-Tom Cruise comedy "Hardy Men."

Levy is repped by Endeavor and attorney Matthew Johnson.
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