EXCLUSIVE: The Kindergarten Teacher‘s Sara Colangelo has been set to direct MadRiver Pictures’ true-life biographical drama What Is Life Worth. As Deadline reported out of the EFM last year, Michael Keaton is starring in the project; Stanley Tucci has also now joined to co-star. Principal photography is set to begin in New York in April. IMR International is handling worldwide sales; UTA and ICM Partners are on domestic.
The Black List script from Max Borenstein is based on Kenneth Feinberg’s acclaimed memoir. It’s described as being in the vein of Erin Brockovich and Oscar-winning Keaton/Tucci-starrer Spotlight. The story centers on Feinberg, a powerful DC insider lawyer put in charge of the 9/11 Fund. In almost three years of pro bono work on the case, Feinberg fought off the cynicism, bureaucracy and politics associated with administering government funds to victim’s families — and in doing so, discovered what life is worth.
Feinberg’s original book was titled What Is Life Worth?: The Inside Story Of The 9/11 Fund And Its Effort To Compensate The Victims Of September 11th. It was published by Hachette in 2006.
Spotlight‘s Michael Sugar is producing the film alongside MadRiver Pictures’ Marc Butan, Sean Sorensen, Borenstein, Bard Dorros and Keaton. Kim Fox will exec produce along with Riverstone’s Nik Bower and Deepak Nayar. Riverstone and Ingenious are financing, with Peter Touche and Andrea Scarso executive producing.
Colangelo joins the project after timing didn’t align with originally announced director David Frankel. This will be the rising talent’s third feature. Her Maggie Gyllenhaal-starrer The Kindergarten Teacher made its debut in Sundance 2018 and won the Best Directing prize. Netflix picked up the film and released it this past October. She previously wrote and directed Indie Spirit nominee Little Accidents. Colangelo is repped by WME, MGMT Entertainment and Frankfurt, Kurnit, Klein & Selz.
Oscar nominee Tucci most recently starred in A Private War with Rosamund Pike and Jamie Dornan. He’s repped by CAA, Curtis Brown Group and Anonymous Content. Fellow Oscar nominee Keaton is next up in Disney’s live-action Dumbo; he’s repped by ICM and Ziffren Brittenham.
IMR is at the EFM following an eight-figure Sundance deal with Amazon for The Report. The slate also includes the recently announced Black Flies with Mel Gibson and Tye Sheridan and King Of The Jungle with Seth Rogen and Keaton. The MadRiver production slate also includes James Gray’s Ad Astra starring Brad Pitt for Fox and New Regency.