Jodie Foster, Mel Gibson circle 'Beaver'

She may direct and co-star; he's in talks to play lead

"The Beaver," Anonymous Content's project about a man and his beaver puppet, is getting a whole new coat of fur.

Jodie Foster is in negotiations to direct and co-star in the whimsical drama, and Mel Gibson is in talks to play the lead role.

Kyle Killen's "Beaver" has generated heat in development circles, landing the top spot on the Black List last year. The story centers on a grown man who wears a beaver puppet on his hand that he treats as a real person, and those familiar with the script have compared it to "Lars and the Real Girl" and the work of Charlie Kaufman.

Given the buzz on the project, Anonymous is eager to make the movie this year and could shop it or finance it independently.

The pairing of Gibson and Foster would mark a reunion for the duo -- they starred as a desperate poker player and his canny adversary in "Maverick" 15 years ago. It would also take the two back to earlier stages of their careers.

Foster, repped by ICM, has made two previous forays into directing, both more than a decade ago: She helmed the 1995 family drama "Home for the Holidays" and the 1991 single-mother tale "Little Man Tate."

"Beaver" would rep just the second acting role since 2003 for the WME-repped Gibson. The actor-director stars in Warners' 2010 conspiracy thriller "Edge of Darkness" and, as with "Darkness," "Beaver" would test his boxoffice drawing power in the wake of controversies including his DUI conviction and his anti-Semitic slurs several years ago.

Foster, who is also attached to direct the period circus tale "Flora Plum" at Paramount, last starred in Fox and Walden's family adventure "Nim's Island" in 2008.

"Beaver" has gone through several iterations in late 2008 and 2009, with Steve Carell and Jim Carrey both circling the pic at earlier stages and Jay Roach eyeing it as a directing vehicle at one point. Foster's name surfaced on the short list of directors in the spring.
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