Frears in talks to helm 'Burial'


Director Stephen Frears is in talks to follow up his Oscar-nominated "The Queen" with Screen Gems' courtroom drama "The Burial."

Penned by Doug Wright, the film centers on the true story of Willie Gary, a black personal-injury lawyer from Mississippi who took on the case of Jeremiah O'Keefe, the owner of a local chain of funeral homes who claimed he had been swindled by a major funeral parlor conglomerate. With the cooperation of O'Keefe's lawyer, an admitted racist, he won $260 million for the plaintiff. The story is based on a New Yorker Magazine article written by Jonathan Harr.

The project had been set up at Warner Bros. Pictures but was put into turnaround before Screen Gems topper Clint Culpepper snapped up the rights.

Jenette Kahn, former president and editor-in-chief of DC Comics and Mad Magazine, and Adam Richman are producing through their Double Nickel shingle. Edward Saxon and Robert Shriver, who had been attached to produce when the project was set up at Warner Bros. Pictures, will produce as well alongside Steven Greener.

Frears, whose recent credits include "Mrs. Henderson Presents" and "Dirty Pretty Things," is a two-time Academy Award director nominee for "The Queen" and "The Grifters." He is repped by ICM and Casarotto Ramsay and Associates.

Wright is repped by ICM.