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Interesing news via Variety (registration required) today. Producer Michael London is partnering with Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner to produce for Paramount “a coming-of-age film about James ‘Bubba’ Smith, a teen who is to motocross racing what Tiger Woods is to golf.” It’s interesting not just because this story seems to be staking out some territory before a new Paramount head, presumably Brad Grey, comes in (says Variety, somewhat obliquely, “In an unusual development, Par topper Donald De Line has allowed development to progress without assigning an exec. The producers wanted it that way so they could flesh out their script before delivering it to the studio.”), but also because of the other talent behind the camera. Writing the script will be George Washington director David Gordon Green and directing will be Sam Jones, the celebrity photographer who previously helmed the Wilco doc I Am Trying to Break Your Heart.

Apparently, Jones and London had spent two years “winning the trust” of the Stewart family. When Jones photographed Cruise for a magazine cover, he mentioned the project to him. Cruise got excited and jumped in to help seal the deal.

Stewart will be racing in the 250cc supercross class this weekend in Anaheim. Adds Variety, “Jones, who with Green will be in the pits watching Stewart on Saturday, said the film’s core will be the relationship between the phenom and his father, James Stewart Sr., a local racer who molded his son to achieve dreams he was denied. The son’s sudden success has strained their relationship.”

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