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Zach Braff

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Braff opens 'Hearts' for Paramount

Zach Braff will follow up his "Garden State" directorial debut with a remake of the 2002 Danish film "Open Hearts" for Paramount Pictures. Braff will adapt, helm, produce and co-star in the romantic drama.

Paramount beat out Fox Searchlight and the Weinstein Co. in what insiders described as an intense bidding war for the chance to work with the multihyphenate. Ever since "Garden State" was acquired at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival by Searchlight and Miramax Films, Braff has enjoyed solid relationships with the Fox specialty label and Harvey Weinstein. But Braff ultimately was swayed by the opportunity to reunite with Paramount's Pam Abdy, who produced "Garden State" and will shepherd "Open Hearts" for the studio alongside Brad Weston. Paramount president Gail Berman also was instrumental in bringing the project to the studio.

The story revolves around two couples whose lives become intertwined after a devastating car crash. Braff is set to play one of the lead roles. The original film was directed by Susanne Bier, who co-wrote with Anders Thomas Jensen.

Paramount is eyeing a summer shoot to coincide with Braff's hiatus from NBC's "Scrubs." Braff is scouting locations in New Jersey, where he shot "Garden State."

For "Garden State," Braff was nominated for a WGA Award and won an Independent Spirit Award for best first feature and a Grammy Award for best soundtrack.

By Tatiana Siegel and Borys Kit

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