By MCN Editor editor@moviecitynews.com

FISHER STEVENS TO DIRECT AMERICAN PASTORAL For Lakeshore Entertainment and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Los Angeles, CA, May 15, 2012—  Academy Award-winner Fisher Stevens will direct American Pastoral for Lakeshore Entertainment and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment (SKE).  The project is based on Philip Roth’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the same name.  Screenwriter John Romano (The Lincoln LawyerIntolerable Cruelty) adapted the screenplay.

American Pastoral is a pivotal story depicting the destruction of the American dream.  Protagonist Seymour “Swede” Levov, a legendary high school athlete, grows up to marry a former beauty queen and inherits his father’s business.  Swede’s seemingly perfect life shatters when his daughter rebels by becoming a revolutionary and commits a savage act of political terrorism during the Vietnam War.

The book is the first novel in Roth’s American postwar trilogy that also includes I Married a Communist and The Human Stain.  This will mark Lakeshore Entertainment’s third project with Roth—The Human Stain was released in 2003 and Elegy (based on The Dying Animal) in 2008.

“Philip Roth is the great American author of our time,” says Lakeshore Chairman Tom Rosenberg.  “Fisher shares our passion for Roth’s literature, and he is a unique storyteller with his multi-layered past in the business as an actor, producer and director.  Stand Up Guys has been a fantastic experience, and we are thrilled to work with Fisher again.”

Says Sidney Kimmel: “Philip Roth is such an extraordinary story teller, an American treasure, and this particular story so vivid that we could not be more excited. Fisher and all of us are dedicated to bringing his vision to the big screen in a fully complimentary and realized fashion.”

Stevens is currently directing Stand Up Guys starring Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin for SKE and Lakeshore Entertainment which Lionsgate will release.  He is represented by Paradigm and Untitled Entertainment.

Lakeshore Entertainment’s Tom Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi are producing with Sidney Kimmel.   SKE President Jim Tauber and SKE President of Production Matt Berenson are executive producing.  Principal photography will begin early next year.

The project marks the seventh film co-financed and co-produced by Lakeshore and SKE in the past year, including the hit Lionsgate release The Lincoln Lawyer, and the upcoming I, Frankenstein, starring Aaron Eckhart and directed by Stuart Beattie for Lionsgate to release, in addition to Adaline in pre-production with Spanish director Isabel Coixet set to direct.

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“Let me try and be as direct as I possibly can with you on this. There was no relationship to repair. I didn’t intend for Harvey to buy and release The Immigrant – I thought it was a terrible idea. And I didn’t think he would want the film, and I didn’t think he would like the film. He bought the film without me knowing! He bought it from the equity people who raised the money for me in the States. And I told them it was a terrible idea, but I had no say over the matter. So they sold it to him without my say-so, and with me thinking it was a terrible idea. I was completely correct, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was not my preference, it was not my choice, I did not want that to happen, I have no relationship with Harvey. So, it’s not like I repaired some relationship, then he screwed me again, and I’m an idiot for trusting him twice! Like I say, you try to distance yourself as much as possible from the immediate response to a movie. With The Immigrant I had final cut. So he knew he couldn’t make me change it. But he applied all the pressure he could, including shelving the film.”
James Gray

“I’m an unusual producer because I control the destiny of a lot of the films I’ve done. Most of them are in perfect states of restoration and preservation and distribution, and I aim to keep them in distribution. HanWay Films, which is my sales company, has a 500-film catalogue, which is looked after and tended like a garden. I’m still looking after my films in the catalogue and trying to get other people to look after their films, which we represent intellectually, to try to keep them alive. A film has to be run through a projector to be alive, unfortunately, and those electric shadows are few and far between now. It’s very hard to go and see films in a movie house. I was always involved with the sales and marketing of my films, right up from The Shout onwards. I’ve had good periods, but I also had a best period because the film business was in its best period then. You couldn’t make The Last Emperor today. You couldn’t make The Sheltering Sky today. You couldn’t make those films anymore as independent films. There are neither the resources nor the vision within the studios to go to them and say, “I want to make a film about China with no stars in it.”Then, twenty years ago, I thought, “OK, I’m going to sell my own films but I don’t want to make it my own sales company.” I wanted it to be for me but I wanted to make it open for every other producer, so they don’t feel that they make a film but I get the focus. So, it’s a company that is my business and I’m involved with running it in a certain way, but I’m not seen as a competitor with other people that use it. It’s used by lots of different producers apart from me. When I want to use it, however, it’s there for me and I suppose I’m planning to continue making all my films to be sold by HanWay. I don’t have to, but I do because it’s in my building and the marketing’s here, and I can do it like that. Often, it sounds like I’m being easy about things, but it’s much more difficult than it sounds. It’s just that I’ve been at it for a long time and there’s lots of fat and security around my business. I know how to make films, but it’s not easy—it’s become a very exacting life.”
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