5 say 'Grace' for Stevens

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NEW YORK -- Penelope Ann Miller, Tatum O'Neal, Joel Gretsch, Piper Laurie and Michael Biehn will star in the period drama "Saving Grace" for veteran performer and first-time feature writer-director Connie Stevens.

Miller and Biehn will play Bea and Landy Bretthorse, a couple whose life in a 1950s-era Missouri town is thrown into chaos when Landy's sister Grace (O'Neal) is released from the local asylum and comes to live with the family. Gretsch will play Grace's ex-husband, who was married to her for one day, and Laurie will play the administrator who runs the asylum where Grace stayed for 15 years.

The story is personal for singer-actress Stevens, who is producing the project with Ralph Singleton ("Because of Winn Dixie,") for Saving Grace B Jones. She was visiting relatives in Boonville, Mo., in 1951 during severe floods that play a pivotal role in her screenplay. Her film is now being shot on location there.

Stevens is known for her '60s pop singles and her role on the 1959-63 series "Hawaiian Eye" as well as guest appearances on TV shows through the '90s. She gained a small fortune as the head of her cosmetics firm Forever Spring. Stevens wrote and produced the 1997 wartime nurse documentary "A Healing: Women of Vietnam."

Miller ("The Messengers") next appears in "Blonde Ambition." She is repped by APA and Untitled Management.

Oscar winner O'Neal appears on FX's "Rescue Me." She is repped by APA and Untitled Management.

Gretsch (USA Network's "The 4400") next appears in Disney's "National Treasure: Book of Secrets." He is repped by APA, manager Dave Fleming of Mosaic Media and attorney Lindsey Strasberg of Sloane Offer Weber & Dern.

Biehn's credits include "Grindhouse." He is repped by WMA and the law firm of Schreck Rose & Dapello.

Laurie, who received Oscar noms for "The Hustler," "Carrie" and "Children of a Lesser God," recently appeared in "Hounddog." She is repped by Don Buchwald & Associates.
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