Steve Martin eyeing 'Big Year' role

3:23 PM PST 03/10/2010 by Alex Ben Block, AP

THR EXCLUSIVE

Steve Martin's big year is getting even bigger as the Oscar co-host is in negotiations to go bird-watching in "The Big Year" alongside Jack Black and Owen Wilson.

The comedy for Fox 2000, which starts shooting in May in Canada, will be helmed by David Frankel, director of "Marley & Me" (which also starred Wilson) and "The Devil Wears Prada."

Based on a 1998 book "The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession," by Mark Obmascik, the script was adapted for the screen by Howard Franklin. It is about three men who try to outdo each other in a bird-watching competition to spot the rarest birds in North America. The rivalry is an allegory for the challenges each faces in his own life.

The movie is being produced by Karen Rosenfelt, Ben Stiller and Stuart Cornfeld of Red Hour Films along with Curtis Hanson and Carol Fenelon of Deuce Three Prods.

The project has long been in development at Fox 2000, and for a while had Dustin Hoffman attached, among others. That role is now being negotiated for Martin by Ed Limato of WME. Martin was last onscreen in the comedy "It's Complicated."

Wilson last was directed by Frankel in "Marley" and is currently in production on "Hall Pass" for the Farrelly brothers. He is also set for the next Woody Allen movie and will star in the "Meet the Fockers" sequel. He was last seen onscreen as Jedediah in "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian."

Black, who is in negotiations for "Big Year," voices Po in the upcoming "Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom" and was last seen as Zed in "Year One."
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