EXCLUSIVE: Shunori Ramanathan and Victor Slezak have joined the cast of the Michael Keaton-starrer What Is Life Worth. The true-life biographical drama is directed by The Kindergarten Teacher‘s Sara Colangelo and also stars Stanley Tucci. Principal photography is set to begin next month in New York.
The Black List script from Max Borenstein is based on Kenneth Feinberg’s memoir. It’s described as being in the vein of Erin Brockovich and the Oscar-winning Keaton- and 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 victims’ families — and in doing so, discovered what life is worth.
Ramanathan will play Anisha Dass, a young Ivy League-educated lawyer who had been preparing to work for a company with offices on the 98th floor of One World Trade Center. She joins the Feinberg firm and the team working on the fund. Ramanathan’s feature credits include The Big Sick and Jonathan. On television, she has recurred on Netflix’s Gypsy and TBS’ Search Party with guest roles on Crashing, Blindspot and Master of None. She is repped by Buchwald and Authentic Talent & Literary Management.
Slezak is playing Attorney General John Ashcroft, who gets the job of Special Master of the compensation fund. The veteran actor recently completed shooting Julie Taymor’s The Glorias: A Life on the Road. Other recent credits include Scott Z Burns’ The Report and Nicole Holofcener’s The Land of Steady Habits. Among many TV credits, he is an alum of The Americans and Blue Bloods. Slezak is repped by Artists & Representatives and Authentic Talent & Literary Management.
Spotlight‘s Michael Sugar is producing What Is Life Worth 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. IMR International is handling worldwide sales; UTA and ICM Partners are on domestic.