Jan de Bont is in finalnegotiations to make his next film as a director for newly formed SplendidPictures, the joint venture between Splendid Medien and Cutting EdgeEntertainment. The film, The Courier, is being produced by Newman/Tooley Films and is set to go intoproduction in late spring.

The film is the firstproduct of the new outfit which was formed when Splendid's old partnerInitial Entertainment Group (IEG) was sold to Intermedia. Splendid, which owned49% of IEG, is thought to have walked away with over $20m from the deal andsubsequently merged with David Glasser's Cutting Edge.

The Courier was ironically set up in 1999 at Intermedia by CaryBrokaw of Avenue Pictures, who takes an executive producer credit on the film.The project created heat in the international marketplace because Brad Pitt wasinterested in starring in the project as the mythic courier of the title whomakes deliveries to anyone, anywhere, with no questions asked. He is hired tomake a delivery to a legendary underworld figure who has previously beenconsidered impossible to find. Pitt subsequently dropped out to make TheMexican.

The script was written byMichael Brandt and Derek Haas. The film is being executive produced by AndreasKlein and David Glasser, the co-chiefs of Splendid Pictures, along wth de Bontand Brokaw. Vincent Newman and Tucker Tooley, who are behind the upcoming NewLine movie El Diablo, willproduce. Jessika Borsiczky, who is head of de Bont's Blue TulipProductions, will serve as co-producer.

De Bonthasn't directed a picture since The Haunting for DreamWorks in 1999, but his BlueTulip label has been busy producing Equilibrium at Dimension Films and MinorityReport for 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks with Steven Spielbergdirecting. His other directing credits are Speed (1994), Twister (1996) and Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997).

He isrepresented by Endeavor and Weissman, Wolffe, Bergman, Coleman & Silverman.Behr, Abramson & Kaller are negotiating the deal on behalf of SplendidPictures and Newman/Tooley Films.