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'Seinfeld' writer on board new 'Fletch' film

By Borys Kit

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Warner Bros.' new "Fletch" movie is moving forward with the hiring of "Seinfeld" writer David Mandel to adapt the script.

The studio picked up the movie rights to the Gregory McDonald mystery novels featuring investigative reporter Fletch in February.

No plot details were given, but Warners and the producers are aiming for a reimagining, not a remake of the 1985 Chevy Chase film or its sequel, and hope to make a smart action comedy that plays out on a bigger canvas than the previous movies.

The project is said to be a high priority for the studio, and a great vehicle for an A-list comedy star. Sources said Mandel beat out several high-profile scribes for the opportunity to write the script.

The 11 "Fletch" mystery books, the first of which was published in 1974, center on a reporter named I.M. Fletcher who juggles writing exposes while avoiding headaches caused by his two ex-wives.

The book and its first sequel are the only novels to win back-to-back Edgar Allan Poe Awards, the prize handed out by the Mystery Writers of America.

Mandel is also one of the writers on Sacha Baron Cohen's upcoming comedy "The Dictator. Both a writer and producer on "Seinfeld," Mandel reunited with series co-creator Larry David when he worked as exec producer and director on David's "Curb Your Enthusiasm." He also co-wrote and co-directed the DreamWorks comedy "Eurotrip."