Jodie Foster and Mel Gibson zero in on "Beaver"

Actress Jodie Foster poses at the 61st annual Directors Guild of America Awards in Los Angeles January 31, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Jodie Foster is in negotiations to direct and co-star in the whimsical drama “The Beaver,” a film about a man and his beaver puppet, and Mel Gibson is in talks to play the lead role.

Kyle Killen’s script centers on a grown man who wears a beaver puppet on his hand that he treats as a real person. Those familiar with the script have compared it to “Lars and the Real Girl” and the work of Charlie Kaufman.

Given the buzz on the project, production company Anonymous Content is eager to make the movie this year.

The pairing of Gibson and Foster would mark a reunion for the duo. They starred as a desperate poker player and his canny adversary in “Maverick” 15 years ago. It would also take the two back to earlier stages of their careers.

Foster has made two previous forays into directing, both more than a decade ago: She helmed the 1995 family drama “Home for the Holidays” and the 1991 single-mother tale “Little Man Tate.”

“Beaver” would rep just the second acting role since 2003 for Gibson. The actor-director stars in the conspiracy thriller “Edge of Darkness,” set for release in 2010. Along with “Darkness,” “Beaver” would test his box-office drawing power in the wake of controversies including his DUI conviction and his anti-Semitic slurs several years ago.

Foster last starred in the family adventure “Nim’s Island” in 2008.

“Beaver” has gone through several iterations in recent months, with Steve Carell and Jim Carrey both circling the pic at earlier stages and Jay Roach eyeing it as a directing vehicle at one point. Foster’s name surfaced on the short list of potential directors in the spring.