ROLE CALL: Cruise, Kidman to ‘Heartswap’

Tom Cruise is ready for some onscreen partner swapping with wife Nicole Kidman.

Daily Variety reports that Cruise and Paramount Pictures have snapped up the rights to English author Celia Brayfield’s upcoming romantic novel “Heartswap” — with an eye toward Kidman taking over one of the lead female roles for the big screen.

The story involves two engaged buddies who agree in a drunken stupor to try to seduce each other’s marriage partners. Complications and infidelity ensue — but of course. The movie is being set up between Paramount and Cruise-Wagner Prods. (Cruise‘s company with partner Paula Wagner).

AGENT GWYNETH? Gwyneth Paltrow may take a cue from Jodie Foster and star as an FBI agent in Warner Bros.’ “Taking Lives.” According to The Hollywood Reporter, Paltrow has long been interested in working with director Tony Scott, and “Lives” might be the right collaboration.

Based on a book by Michael Pyle, “Lives” is the tale of an FBI profiler assigned to track down a serial killer who takes on the identities of his victims. Shooting is set to begin this spring.

GOING ‘ANIMAL’: He was Disney’s top gigolo. Next, he’ll be a guy who receives organ donations from animals. That’s the premise of the comedy “Animal,” a planned Disney feature starring “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo‘s” Rob Schneider. According to the Reporter, the project will reteam Schneider with “Deuce” executive producer Jack Giarraputo.

The movie’s based on one of the actor’s ideas — about a man whose donated body parts cause him to take on the personalities of different animals.

KLINE STEALS ‘THIEF’ ASSIGNMENT: Oscar winner Kevin Kline, the jewel thief in “A Fish Called Wanda,” is set to make his directing debut on the Fine Line Features’ “The Palace Thief.” Variety reports that Kline will also star in the production, based on the short story by Ethan Canin.

JACKIE AND THE DOGG: Blaxploitation icon Pam Grier (“Foxy Brown”) is set to get her groove back opposite rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg in the New Line Cinema production “Bones.” Ernest Dickerson (“Juice”) will direct. The film is set to start shooting this month on location in Vancouver.

The Hollywood Reporter notes that the story has Dogg playing a ghost who seeks revenge 20 years later against the thugs that murdered him and destroyed his neighborhood. Grier will play the clairvoyant girlfriend he tries to win back.

‘SATANIC’ AUTHOR TAKES A BITE: After spending a decade trying to avoid a death warrant, what to do next? If you’re Salman Rushdie, you might take a part in a vampire movie. Reuters reports that the controversial “Satanic Verses” author has said that he wants to be an actor and has been offered a role as a bloodsucker.

The author has maintained 24-hour protection since his book sparked a death edict from Iran’s ruler, the Ayatolla Khomeini, in 1989. Khomeini issued the warrant due to what he viewed as the writer blaspheming Islam.

Rushdie has gradually come out of hiding, although one Iranian Foundation has a $2.8 million bounty on his head.

FRENCH CONNECTION: Acclaimed “Topsy Turvy” director Mike Leigh has said bonjour to France in a big way, inking a deal with French production company Studio Canal Plus for his next three films. Variety notes that Leigh and Simon Channing-Williams, partners in Thin Man Films, have signed all rights to the Paris-based pay-television company, with Leigh set to start working on his next project in September.