'Optimist' club: Faison, Sobieski set

'Optimist' club: Faison, Sobieski set
Leelee Sobieski and Donald Faison are starring in The Optimist, an indie feature directed by Marius Balchunas and being produced by Scott Sturgeon of 2Loop Films. Optimist centers on a family of Russian immigrants whose home is taken over by two local car thieves (Faison, Shane West). Sobieski plays a daughter who wants out of her home and falls for West. Rade Serbedzija plays Sobieski's father, a Russian-Jewish clarinetist. The two also played father-daughter in Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut.

Duo's 'Taming' script tapped for Costner, NL

New Line Cinema has picked up Scott Sturgeon and Marius Balchunas romantic comedy script Taming Ben Taylor. Kevin Costner is attached to the project, which centers on a powerful and beautiful businesswoman who tries to convince a stubborn and difficult man (Costner) to sell his land to a country club. Sturgeon and Balchunas penned the screenplay along with Amy Lasser. New Line Cinema is interested in Diane Lane to star opposite Costner as the businesswoman, though she does not yet have an official offer, the studio said. The project is currently out to directors. Producing the project are Sturgeon and Balchunas through their 2 Loop Films along with Gianni Nunnari. Costner and his producing partner Jim Wilson will also serve in a producer capacity, sources said. At the studio, the project is being shepherded by senior vp production Stokely Chafin and production executive George Waud. Sturgeon and Balchunas are repped by ICM and attorney P.J. Shapiro. Costner is repped by CAA. He recently finished shooting The Upside of Anger.

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