It's the end of the world, and Cusack feels fine


John Cusack is eyeing a big-budget production disaster film as his next project.

The actor is in negotiations to star in Roland Emmerich's apocalyptic "2012," about the end of the world, for Columbia. Chiwetel Ejiofor ("American Gangster") is in talks to co-star.

The disaster film centers on a global cataclysm that brings an end to the world and tells the heroic struggle of the survivors.

Cusack is in talks to play divorced dad, writer and sometime limo driver Jackson Curtis, who goes on a heroic journey to save his family. Ejiofor plays Adrian Helmsley, an idealistic science adviser to the president who also becomes a hero.

Emmerich, known for his big-budget disaster movies, is directing a script he penned with his "10,000 BC" co-writer Harald Kloser. Emmerich is serving as an executive producer on the project, while Kloser is producing with Mark Gordon and Larry Franco. Columbia's Matt Tolmach and Rachel O'Connor are overseeing for the studio.

"2012" was the first big spec to hit the market after the WGA strike. The project was shopped around with a $200 million budget, but Columbia said it will be made for less than that.

The studio is planning a July 10, 2009, release, with filming set to begin in July — unless there is an actors strike.

Cusack, repped by WMA, will next be seen in the indie comedy "War, Inc.," which he wrote and produced under his New Crime Prods. shingle. The film bows Friday. He is filming the 1940s drama "Shanghai" for the Weinstein Co.

Ejiofor is repped by ICM.