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Precious Director Lee Daniels Wants Sofia Vergara, Bradley Cooper for Thriller The Paperboy

It’s been a year since Lee Daniels devastated us with Precious, but since then we’ve gotten precious little clarity about what he’d be doing next. (Is it The Butler, Selma, Anna in the Tropics? Or maybe that Fellini adaptation?) But now our spies tell us that Daniels appears to be settling on his next project, rewriting an adaptation of Pete Dexter 1995 novel The Paperboy that’s fast coming together at Relativity Media.

If you don’t know Peter Dexter the novelist (Paris Trout; Brotherly Love; Train; Spooner) you certainly know the shows (HBO’s Deadwood) based upon them, and the movies (Rush; Mullholland Falls) written by him.

In The Paperboy, Jack, the slacker son of backwater Florida newspaper editor and publisher, gets pulled into his older, big-city reporter brother’s investigation of a rural sheriff's murder, and whether the death-row inmate convicted of it was truly responsible. Being a Pete Dexter novel, things don’t go smoothly.

We hear that Daniels was in town last week reading young actors for parts, and now hear that he’s made offers to Bradley Cooper, Alex Pettyfer (who should open at No. 1 this weekend in DreamWorks’s I Am Number Four), and Modern Family's Sofia Vergara to star in the thriller. Cooper would play Pettyfer’s older brother, Ward, while Vergara would play the wife of a death-row inmate.

More details as we hear them!