Relativity, helmer huddle up for 'Eli'

'Hannah Montana' director in negotiations for dramedy

Relativity Media has signed on to develop the dark dramedy "Eli Webb," with "Hannah Montana: The Movie" helmer Peter Chelsom in negotiations to direct.

The prestige-oriented story concerns a conservative talk show host who is diagnosed with a fatal illness, prompting him to undertake a life examination. Thompson Evans is penning the script. Chip Diggins & Brooklyn Weaver will produce, with Adam Marshall exec producing.

The Endeavor-repped Chelsom has had a diverse career, helming the John Cusack romantic comedy "Serendipity" and the Richard Gere-Jennifer Lopez starrer "Shall We Dance?" Disney's "Montana" feature, set for a spring release, will be the first scripted big-screen take on the popular series.

Evans, repped by Paradigm and Energy Entertainment, wrote "Dad Gone Wild" for Fox and "Wedlocked" for Sony.

Relativity, which has swum in prestige waters with movies like "3:10 to Yuma" and "Frost/Nixon," is in negotiations to buy genre label Rogue but has said it will continue to finance and produce specialized fare in the vein of "Webb."