Macdonald pushes 'Play' for Universal

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Kevin Macdonald, who directed Forest Whitaker to an Oscar in "The Last King of Scotland," has signed on to helm "State of Play" for Universal Pictures. Working Title's Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan have joined Andell Entertainment's Andrew Hauptman as producers on the thriller, which has Brad Pitt attached to star.

"State of Play" is an adaptation of an award-winning BBC miniseries that revolves around an elected government official and his former campaign manager (Pitt), who is now a journalist for a high-profile national paper. When two seemingly unrelated slayings are linked by a single phone call, the friends find themselves on opposite sides of the investigation. Matthew Michael Carnahan wrote the adaptation, which moves the action to Washington.

Paul Abbott, who created the 2003 series, is executive producing. A late 2007 start date is eyed.

Macdonald's "Scotland" won BAFTA awards for best actor, adapted screenplay and the Alexander Korda Award for best British film. He is repped by Endeavor and Peters Fraser & Dunlop in the U.K.

Kristen Lowe and Maradith Frenkel are overseeing for the studio.
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