Writing team built fast for 'Transformers 2'

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Scribe Ehren Kruger and the writing team of Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are in negotiations to team to write the screenplay for DreamWorks/Paramount's "Transformers 2."

Director Michael Bay, star Shia LaBeouf and producers Tom DeSanto, Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Don Murphy are back in their respective chairs, as is exec producer Steven Spielberg.

The teaming of A-listers to write such a huge project might be an industry first and could have been necessary because Kurtzman and Orci -- who wrote the $315 million-grossing first "Transformers" movie -- also are busy writing J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" movie for Paramount and producing "Eagle Eye" for DreamWorks.

But the teaming will not be a case of complete strangers being thrust together, as the three writers are working together on "Nightlife," a DreamWorks serial-killer project that sees Kruger adapting a Thomas Perry novel, with Kurtzman and Orci producing along with Neal Moritz. Kruger also adapted the Stephen King tome "The Talisman," which Spielberg is exec producing for TNT.

Sources are pegging the writing deal, which is not yet closed, in the $5 million-$7 million range, which also might be an industry high for a nonoriginal screenplay. Reflected in the price is the pressure to perform: With the studio hoping to make the movie before a potential talent strike, the writers are going to have to type fast.

Kruger met with Bay and Hasbro president Brian Goldner and impressed the duo with his knowledge of the "Transformers" mythology.

Kruger also has "Torso," a graphic novel adaptation that has David Fincher directing, set up at Paramount. He is repped by Paradigm and Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern.

Orci and Kurtzman are repped at CAA.
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