Helmer, star move in with indie drama

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Nicole Holofcener has signed to write and direct a movie about a group of New York women who live in the same apartment building, with Catherine Keener in final negotiations to play the main character.

Anthony Bregman ("Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind") will produce the film via his Likely Story banner. He collaborated with Holofcener on a number of her movies with his previous shingle, This Is That.

The script was completed ahead of the writers strike, with the project set to go into production in first-quarter 2008 to beat a potential actors strike.

Likely Story is said to be debating whether to finish the film and go the acquisitions route or seek a distributor at an earlier stage. Sony Pictures Classics and Lionsgate are among the banners that have released previous Holofcener films.

The movie, still untitled, will center on a set of neighbors in the New York building, including a woman (Keener) who lives next door to a cantankerous elderly woman. It explores the interactions between Keener's character, who owns the woman's apartment, the woman and her two granddaughters, in what's described as an examination of "life, death and real estate."

The movie will be set and shot in New York, the first Holofcener project based in the city since 1996's "Walking and Talking."

Holofcener — whose writing-directing credits also include the female-friendship films "Lovely and Amazing" and the Jennifer Aniston starrer "Friends With Money" — is an indie "it" girl who has been nominated for a host of Independent Spirit awards. All three of her previous features starred Keener.

Holofcener also has directed episodes of a number of hit television shows, including "Sex and the City" and "Six Feet Under."

Bregman is behind Carter Smith's "Come Closer" with Miramax and also produced the upcoming Sundance movie "Sleep Dealer."

Keener is set to star in her own Sundance movies, "What Just Happened?" and "Hamlet 2," and also is attached to Michael Winterbottom's ghost tale "Genova."
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