Lionsgate tries a little 'Tenderness'

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Lionsgate has scooped up the rights to the Russell Crowe-starring indie thriller "Tenderness." The studio will distribute the John Polson-directed film from GreeneStreet Films in North America, the U.K., Australia and South Africa.

Written by Emil Stern and based on the novel by Robert Cormier, "Tenderness" co-stars Laura Dern, Jon Foster and Sophie Traub. The film centers on a teenager (Traub) who becomes enthralled with a serial killer (Foster). Crowe will play a local cop who has been following the killer for years. Lionsgate plans to release the film, which is in postproduction, in late 2007.

" 'Tenderness' delivers an unbeatable combination of story, filmmakers and actors," said Tom Ortenberg, Lionsgate president of theatrical films. "John Polson, Russell Crowe, Jon Foster, Sophie Traub and Laura Dern have given it their all, which means that audiences can count on an incredibly gripping experience."

The film is produced by GreeneStreet co-founder John Penotti, Howard Meltzer and Charles Randolph. GreeneStreet co-founder Fisher Stevens and Tim Williams are executive producers. Polson previously partnered with GreeneStreet on 20th Century Fox's "Swimfan."

Jana Edelbaum of iDeal Partners Film Fund and Scott Hanson and John Allen of Hanson Film Fund also are executive producers. GreeneStreet, iDeal and Hanson Film Fund co-financed the thriller.

"The entire Lionsgate team is renowned for their sharp ideas and enormous energy," Penotti said. "We are looking forward to working with them to bring 'Tenderness' to moviegoers on four continents."

The deal was negotiated for Lionsgate by president of acquisitions and co-productions Peter Block, senior vp acquisitions Jason Constantine and Wendy Jaffe, senior vp legal and business affairs, acquisitions. Vicki Cherkas, GreeneStreet's head of business affairs, business development and new ventures and CAA negotiated on behalf of GreeneStreet.
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