From “Commander in Chief” to “Editor-in-Chief”?

FISHBOWLLA EXCLUSIVE: I just got back from the Disney lot, where I spent an hour chatting with “Commander in Chief” creator Rod Lurie. rodgeena.jpeg.jpg

Lurie (“Deterrence,” “The Contender”) told me he’s busily prepping a new indie feature film – one without so much as a single presidential character, natch – called “Resurrecting the Champ” with Samuel L. Jackson and Josh Hartnett both in negotiations to star.

Harnett is in talks to play a 30-year-old L.A. Times sports reporter whose hunger for a reputation-making Big Story leads him to track down a homeless vagrant he believes was once a famous prizefighter. The reporter and his reticent subject form an unusual paternal/filial relationship, while the reporter gets the story he’s always wanted. gatop.jpeg.jpg

Morgan Freeman had been attached at one point last fall, but has dropped out and will likely be replaced by Jackson. Hartnett (soon to be seen in Paul McGuigan’s “Lucky Number Slevin”) would play the journo. The indie goes before cameras this May, backed by “Crash” financier, Bob Yari, and produced by Phoenix Pictures’ Mike Medavoy. jsh.jpeg.jpg

If there’s any doubt about Hollywood being a relationship business, consider the history on “Champ”: Lurie was hired to rewrite a “Champ” script originally written by Chris Gerolmo, who’d written and directed the pilot for F/X‘s “Over There” – the Iraq war series produced by Stephen Bochco. Bochco, of course, is now running Lurie’s creation, “Commander” at ABC.

See? It’s one big circle of life, people. We think we’re going to start humming the “Lion King” soundtrack any minute now.

N.B. You can hear my complete interview with Lurie on NPR’s ‘The Business’ in Los Angeles by tuning in to 89.9 FM on Monday at 2:30 pm, or by ‘podcasting the show on iTunes.