Pitt ready to rumble with Aronofsky

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Brad Pitt is in negotiations to team with Darren Aro- nofsky for "The Fighter," Paramount's pugilist drama that also will star Mark Wahlberg.

Pitt is putting on the gloves that were to have been filled by Matt Damon, who had to bow out because of scheduling conflicts. What is more notable, however, is that Pitt might finally make a movie with Aronofsky, with whom he was to have made "The Fountain" in 2002. Pitt pulled out of that movie during preproduction, effectively killing it until Aronofsky resurrected it in 2005 with Hugh Jackman at half the previous budget. Relations between the two soured for a while afterward.

Based on the life of boxer "Irish" Mickey Ward (Wahlberg) and his trainer brother Dick Eklund (Pitt), the decades-spanning story chronicles their early days on the rough streets of Lowell, Mass., through Eklund's battle with drugs and Ward's eventual world championship in London. Scott Silver is rewriting the script.

David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman are producing through their Mandeville Films shingle.

Hoping to sidestep the possible talent strike, the studio is eyeing "Fighter" for a fall 2008 shoot. Pitt, repped by CAA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners, will shoot "State of Play" for Universal in the winter.
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