Five on way to Kaufman's 'Synecdoche'

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Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Michelle Williams, Samantha Morton and Tilda Swinton are in negotiations to star in Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut, "Synecdoche, New York." Indie production companies Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Anthony Bregman's Likely Story will produce the project based on Kaufman's original screenplay.

Kaufman and Spike Jonze also will serve as producers. Kimmel's William Horberg will executive produce. Producers are anticipating a spring shoot in New York.

Hoffman will play a theater director who ambitiously attempts to put on a play by creating a life-size replica of New York inside a warehouse. Keener is set to play his first wife, Williams will play his second wife, Morton will appear as his sometime lover, and Swinton will portray Keener's best friend and the dubious mentor to the daughter of Hoffman and Keener's characters.

"It takes the term 'living theater' to a whole new level," said Bregman, who will kick off his new company with the production of "Synecdoche." "We were kind of hoping that Charlie would write a small, contained film set in a kitchen with a couple of easy-going characters. Instead, he came up with a massive undertaking of visually elaborate worlds and stunningly complex characters and ideas. The film would be all but impossible to pull off if we weren't surrounded by such incredible actors, the most exciting team of filmmakers imaginable and the most supportive producing partners one could hope."

The film was packaged by UTA, which represents Kaufman and Bregman. Kimmel International, the foreign sales division of SKE, will handle international sales.

The project will mark the first pairing of Hoffman with Kaufman and Jonze. Hoffman most recently appeared as the villain in "Mission: Impossible III." He is repped by Paradigm. Keener, a longtime collaborator with Kaufman and Jonze, is voicing the character of Max's Mom in Jonze's "Where the Wild Things Are." She has appeared in "Adaptation" and "Being John Malkovich." Keener is repped by Gersh.

Williams also is voicing a role in Jonze's "Wild Things." She last appeared in the Academy Award winner "Brokeback Mountain." She is repped by CAA.

Morton next appears in Universal Pictures "The Golden Age," in which she plays Mary, Queen of Scots. She is repped by Endeavor. Swinton, also repped by Endeavor, appeared in "Adaptation" and will be featured in Paramount Pictures/Warner Bros. Pictures' "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."
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