Verhoeven on tap for 'Surrogate'

Fox thriller lures Dutch director back to Hollywood

Paul Verhoeven is coming back to America.

The Dutch director, who most recently helmed his native-tongued “Black Book,” has come aboard to develop and direct “The Surrogate,” a thriller for 20th Century Fox. Ralph Winter is producing via his Winter Road shingle along with Deborah Giarratana, Robin Guthrie and Susana Zepeda.

Based on the 2004 book by Kathryn Mackel, the story centers on a couple desperate to have a child who find themselves in an unbearable position when they find out the surrogate they hired to carry their baby is insane.

The project originally was set up at Fox Atomic but moved to Fox proper when Atomic was shuttered. Debbie Liebling, who ran Atomic, is overseeing “Surrogate.”

Roderick Taylor and Bruce Taylor wrote the original draft.

Winter, a producer on Fox’s “X-Men” movies, most recently was a producer on “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” 

Verhoeven, repped by ICM and Marion Rosenberg, became one of Hollywood’s most sought-after directors in the 1990s with such movies as “Total Recall” and “Basic Instinct.” He became disenchanted with Tinseltown after his 2000 sci-fi thriller “Hollow Man” fizzled. He then returned to the Netherlands, where he made “Book.” The World War II thriller won several awards and thrust him back in the limelight.

Verhoeven is developing several projects, including “The Winter Queen,” with Milla Jovovich attached to star.