Antoine Fuqua Circling 'Olympus' as White House Thriller Race Heats Up

Antoine Fuqua - portrait
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Gerard Butler is set to star in one of two competing movies described as " 'Die Hard' in the White House."

It’s the race to destroy the White House.

Antoine Fuqua has an offer and is in early talks to direct Olympus Has Fallen, an Nu Image/Millennium action thriller that has been described as “Die Hard in the White House."

The project achieved new urgency last week after Columbia acquired White House Down, its own Die Hard-esque script set at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The studio plunked down $3 million for the script by Jamie Vanderbilt and is in talks with Roland Emmerich, who memorably blew up the White House in 1996's Independence Day, to direct.

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Olympus has a leg up on Down because it already has an actor attached. THR previously reported that Gerard Butler is on board to star as an unlikely Secret Service agent trying to stop terrorists who have taken over the White House.

The script, by first-time scribes Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt, was picked up by Millennium in early March. The race to the screen is so intense, according to insiders, that Millennium is fast-tracking Olympus for a June production start.

Butler is producing with Millennium president Mark Gill; the two worked together on Law-Abiding Citizen). Butler's manager Alan Siegel also is producing.

Fuqua may be best known for directing Training Day, the crime thriller that won Denzel Washington an Oscar for best actor, and he most recently directed the 2009 crime drama Brooklyn’s Finest. He is repped by CAA and Ziffren Brittenham.

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