EXCLUSIVES: It’s going to be a hot summer for Melissa Leo. She’s joining James Franco in “The Fixer,” a movie not based on the famous novel by Bernard Malamud. Ian Olds is directing this screenplay about a war journalist (Franco) who’s been in Afghanistan but suddenly finds himself doing crime reporting in Northern California. That’s where they’ll shoot this film, as well as in Morocco, this summer. Let’s hope they have lots of SPF. Paul Felton co-wrote the script with Olds.

This seems in some way derived from a 2009 documentary directed by Olds called “Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi.” Olds previously edited Franco’s interesting take on “As I Lay Dying” and his “Kink” documentary. He also directed Franco’s vanity doc “Francophenia” and his unseen “Saturday Night Live” documentary…

…More concretely, Steve Carell, I hear, is attached to “Lunatics.” Universal has the rights to the very funny novel by “SNL” legend Alan Zweibel and humorist Dave Barry. Two lunatics are needed, and I also hear that Jack Black is being talked about. It’s a very “Odd Couple” story about two suburban dads, one of whom runs a pet store called The Wine Shop. Let’s cross our fingers that the script– written by Zweibel and Barry– is as funny as the novel, and that they get a good director…




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