Malkovich, 'Burn' make good match


John Malkovich is in negotiations to star opposite George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand in the Coen brothers' "Burn After Reading" for Focus Features and Working Title Films.

The dark screwball comedy centers on Ozzie Cox (Malkovich), a former CIA agent who loses the disc of the memoir he is writing. McDormand will play Cox's philandering wife. Clooney is set to play an assassin. Because the screenplay is being kept under wraps, it is unclear what Pitt's character will be.

Shooting is scheduled to begin in August.

Joel and Ethan Coen penned the screenplay, and the former will direct the contemporary-set project.

Working Title's Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are producing alongside the Coens.

Malkovich, whose upcoming film credits include "Beowulf" and "The Great Buck Howard," is a two-time Oscar nominee for "In the Line of Fire" and "Places in the Heart." "Burn" would mark his first collaboration with the Coens.

He is repped by Endeavor and manager Charles Finch.