Credit: Jeffrey Mayer/

Having scored a box office bull’s-eye with Cloverfield, producer J.J.Abrams (pictured) is now turning his attention to Fringe, his two-hour pilot for Fox that focuses on a trio of investigators who solve supernatural and sci-fi mysteries. Production on the project, which stars Mark Valley (Boston Legal) and Kirk Acevedo (The Black Donnellys), is expected to start as early as Feb. 1 and could cost Fox up to $10 million for the pilot alone. (Abrams told Hollywood Insider that he had cast a British actor on Wednesday for another key role, but refused to elaborate.) Fringe, which earned a series commitment from Fox, is slated for a fall bow, though the 2008–09 season could be disrupted by the writers’ strike. Says a source close to the project, “The best way to work with J.J. is to not put him in a position where he feels forced.”