Mike Fleming

In what will be the first new production for the reconstituted MGM, the studio has set Vin Diesel to star in and produce The Machine. The action-comedy is being produced by Diesel’s One Race Films along with Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant. They wrote the script. MGM will next set a director and start production in the fall.

Diesel will play a human-like machine created in secrecy by the Pentagon to be the world’s first ultimate weapon. Some 20 years after the machine was decommissioned and buried, The Machine is discovered, reactivated and befriended by a kid. When the government  learns that The Machine is back in operation, the ultimate weapon’s mission becomes to protect the family that is harboring him. Lennon and Garant’s scripts include the Night at the Museum franchise and The Pacifier, the latter of which starred Diesel and was made by Spyglass. Since Spyglass’s Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber and Jonathan Glickman are calling the shots at MGM, it is a re-team across the board. I’m told the tone of the movie is somewhat similar to Iron Giant, the animated film with a protagonist that was voiced by Diesel. The hope is to create a franchise.

“We could not be happier to be partnering with Vin again, especially on a film with such classic themes that will appeal to his broad audience around the world,” said Glickman, MGM Motion Picture Group president.

Deal comes as Diesel’s most recent film, Fast Five, revs toward the $500 million worldwide-gross mark as the summer’s first blockbuster. Pic’s done $458 million in global ticket sales so far, and Diesel is in early discussions to take part in the sixth installment of the series that he and Paul Walker launched in 2001. Diesel is repped by CAA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners, Lennon and Garant by CAA and Principato-Young.

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