Chan feels at home with 'Spy Next Door'


Jackie Chan is taking his martial-arts high jinks to the neighbors, signing on to star in "The Spy Next Door," an action comedy to be financed by Relativity Media and directed by veteran studio helmer Brian Levant.

Robert Simonds, a longtime comedy producer on such movies as "The Pink Panther" and the Adam Sandler films "The Wedding Singer" and "Big Daddy," will produce. Solon So will executive produce. Relativity's Ryan Kavanaugh will produce, and Tucker Tooley will exec produce.

Jonathan Bernstein and Jim Greer are penning the screenplay for "Spy," which centers on a man (Chan) who is called to baby-sit his neighbor's children and winds up having to fight off secret agents after one of the kids inadvertently downloads a secret code.

Chan is one of the biggest-grossing comedy action stars of all time, with his "Rush Hour" films earning more than $500 million in the U.S. alone. "The Forbidden Kingdom," a which showcased his trademark brand of action chops and comic timing, earned $51 million in North America for Lionsgate in the spring.

Chan recently has turned to action drama, starring in and producing "The Shinjuku Incident," about a Chinese immigrant who moves to Japan to pursue his former girlfriend.

Levant is the helmer behind such studio comedies as "Are We There Yet?" the Ice Cube film that earned $82 million for Sony in 2005.

Chan and Levant are repped by WMA, as are the writers and producers on "Spy."

The project continues a torrid pace for Relativity, which has been snapping up projects at a rapid clip since the WGA strike ended. Kavanaugh's outfit also is behind the Judd Apatow creation "Pineapple Express," which opens Friday, and the upcoming Paul W.S. Anderson action film "Death Race."

Steven Zeitchik reported from New York; Borys Kit reported from Los Angeles.