Miller sees Jackson as evil 'Spirit'

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Samuel L. Jackson is in negotiations to star as a mysterious supervillain in the Frank Miller-helmed comic book adaptation "The Spirit" for Lionsgate and Odd Lot Entertainment.

The story centers on Denny Colt, an ambitious young cop murdered in the line of duty who under mysterious circumstances is reborn as the masked mystery man known as the Spirit.

Jackson would play the Spirit's nemesis, the Octopus, a meek lab assistant who reinvents himself as a psychotic nightmare that kills anyone unfortunate enough to see his face. The Octopus' tentacles reach into every aspect of crime in fictitious Central City, a city he plans to wipe out.

Miller said during an introduction of the project at the Festival de Cannes that Jackson is his first choice to play the evil genius who knows the secrets behind the Spirit. He added that he is beginning to mull different actors to play the comic book hero.

Miller, one of the world's most renowned graphic artists, penned the screenplay, which is based on the comic book series created by the late Will Eisner. The film will mark the first solo directing project for Miller, who co-helmed 2005's "Sin City" with Robert Rodriguez.

Batfilm's Michael Uslan is producing alongside Odd Lot's Deborah Del Prete and Gigi Pritzker.

Lionsgate will distribute the film in the U.S. and the U.K. Odd Lot International is selling foreign territories at Cannes.

Jackson is repped by ICM, Anonymous Content and attorney Deborah Klein.

Tatiana Siegel reported from Cannes; Borys Kit reported from Los Angeles.
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