Cowell pic at Par more than idle chatter


The Simon Cowell-produced story of a rags-to-riches reality music star is moving ahead at Paramount.

The project, about the life of opera singer Paul Potts, has attached "The Bucket List" scribe Justin Zackham to pen the screenplay. It also has been given a name, "One Chance," based on the singer's last-ditch effort to make a career in music by competing on the "Britain's Got Talent" television show.

An amateur opera singer and mobile-phone salesman, Potts was riddled by a streak of bad luck when, on a lark, he auditioned for "Talent" in 2007. His on-air performances ended up bowling over audiences and judges, including Cowell. He went on to win the show and become a media and YouTube sensation, eventually going on a global music tour and releasing an album.

The film is expected to be a comedy-drama that tracks Potts' hard-luck story up through his "Talent" performances. Relevant Entertainment's Michael Menchel and Steve Whitney are producing the picture along with Cowell.

The writing assignment continues a busy year for Zackham since "Bucket List" earned more than $170 million worldwide. Zackham is next set to produce "Upstate," Jessica Goldberg's tale on high school and electoral politics set in a New York town. Cowell, the British hyphenate who brought "American Idol" and "America's Got Talent" to these shores, is making his studio debut with "Chance." He also is developing "Star Struck," a scripted tale about a musical reality show that has not yet been set up at a studio. (partialdiff)