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New Amsterdam Entertainment in Association With Asis Productions Announces Jeff Bridges to Star in "Keller," Based On Lawrence Block's Best Selling Novel Hit Man.


New Amsterdam Entertainment, Inc. in association with AsIs Productions announces the development of KELLER, a feature film from a screenplay by Patrick McGrath and Maria Aitken based on Lawrence Block's best-selling novel HIT MAN and to star Jeff Bridges. Producers are Richard P. Rubinstein and Mitchell Galin of New Amsterdam. In addition to starring in the film, Bridges will executive produce with manager and partner Neil Koenigsberg. KELLER is to be a year 2000 release.

Keller is a killer. Professional, cool, confident, competent, reliable. The consummate pro. The hit man's hit man. But, he is also a complex person: understandably guarded and reclusive, icy and ruthlessly efficient. Keller is a crack assassin, but he is an all-too-human being prone to loneliness. As Keller goes about his rounds, fulfilling his contracts, he learns a few truths about himself and the ways of the normal world and winds up a wiser (if not better) man.

Lawrence Block reigns as urban noir crime fiction's most masterful and wicked voice having been awarded every major mystery prize, including the Edgar, the Shamus, the Maltese Falcon, and the Nero Wolfe. During his incredibly prolific career, comprising over fifty published works, Block has created memorable casts of recurring characters who continue to beguile readers with each appearance in print. The latest addition to their number is Keller.

The husband and wife screenwriting team of McGrath and Aitken will pen the screenplay based on the complex and unique character of Keller. McGrath is the critically acclaimed author of five books of fiction: Blood and Water and Other Tales; The Grotesque; Spider; Dr. Haggard's Disease; and Asylum, which was shortlisted for Britian's prestigious Guardian Fiction Award and is under option with Paramount, soon to star Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson. McGrath is also a contributing editor of a number of New York publications and is a regular fiction reviewer for the New York Times Book Review.

AsIs Productions is headed by three-time Academy Award nominee Bridges. Although known primarily for his work as an actor, Bridges shared producing credits on both "Hidden in America," starring his brother Beau Bridges and "American Heart," the latter earning him the IFP/Spirit Award for Best Actor. Notable acting turns include roles in "The Big Lebowski," "Fearless," "The Fisher King," "The Fabulous Baker Boys," "Tucker," "Jagged Edge," "Starman" (Oscar nomination), "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot" (Oscar nomination), and "The Last Picture Show" (Oscar nomination). Later this year, Bridges will be seen starring in three films: "Arlington Road" with Tim Robbins, Albert Brooks's "The Muse," and "Simpatico" with Nick Nolte and Sharon Stone. Koenigsberg most recently co-produced Miramax's "A Walk on the Moon," starring Diane Lane and was executive producer on "Hidden in America," and a co-producer on "American Heart."

Former head of Laurel Entertainment, Rubinstein is now CEO of New Amsterdam Entertainment where he is associated with Galin. New York based New Amsterdam initially optioned HIT MAN and Rubinstein brought the novel to the attention of all connected to the project.

Speaking about the development of the project, Rubinstein noted: "I didn't have to sell anyone on my conviction that Larry's novel was great movie material and that the character of Keller would appeal to Jeff. I've also known Larry, Neil, Patrick, Maria, and, of course, Mitchell for many years and everyone said `Yes' without hesitation."

Rubinstein's feature producer credits include Stephen King's "Pet Sematary," "Knightriders" starring Ed Harris, and George A. Romero's "Dawn of the Dead" (aka "Zombie"). Longform TV executive producer credits include Stephen King's "The Stand," which Entertainment Weekly readers picked as the most popular miniseries of all time in the USA. Rubinstein and Galin have been associated for 14 years and Galin's credits include co-producer on "Pet Sematary" and producer on "The Stand." The producing team's current projects in development include a 6 hour miniseries based on Frank Herbert's classic fantasy adventure novel Dune and a feature film based on Irving Schulman's biography, Valentino.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jun 14, 1999
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