EXCLUSIVE: Richard Gere is set to star in Oppenheimer Strategies, an independent film written and to be directed by Joseph Cedar that is coming together quickly. Pic tells the story of a small-time operator named Norman Oppenheimer who befriends a young politician at a low and lonely moment in his life. Three years later when that politician becomes an influential world leader, Norman’s life dramatically changes. For better. And for worse.

Elements on the film are still coming together, but shooting begins January 12 in NY. Tadmor Entertainment Group, Fabrica de Cine and Cold Iron Pictures are financing. The film’s produced by Oren Moverman, Lawrence Inglee, Eyal Rimmon, Gideon Tadmor, Gaston Pavlovich and Miranda Bailey. Matt Malek and Amanda Marshall are the exec veeps.

Gere just starred in the Moverman-directed Time Out Of Mind and shot the Andrew Renzi-directed Franny and the sequel The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. He is repped by WME. ICM Partners reps Cedar andis representing domestic rights, and The Solution Entertainment Group is handling international. Cedar has twice been Oscar nominated for directing Footnote and Beaufort.