Fred Thompson Thriller 'Persecuted' Nabbed by Millennium Entertainment

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Fred Thompson

The movie, about a televangelist on the run, is co-produced by Oscar winner Gray Frederickson.

Millennium Entertainment said Thursday it will handle the national distribution of Persecuted, a religious-political thriller that stars former Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson as a priest and is co-produced by Gray Frederickson, who won a best picture Oscar for The Godfather Part II.

Persecuted is about a televangelist, played by James Remar, who is framed for murder after he refuses to publicly support a U.S. senator's plan that would compel religious leaders to provide "fairness" and equal time to all faiths.

The cast includes Bruce Davison, Dean Stockwell, Raoul Trujillo and Fox News personality Gretchen Carlson, who plays a TV news reporter.

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The movie, written, directed and co-produced by Daniel Lusko and scheduled for release on July 18 on 600 screens, first garnered attention at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where its theme of fidelity -- or lack thereof -- to the First Amendment struck a chord.

Thompson told The Hollywood Reporter that he was attracted to the project because it deals with issues of free speech and religious freedom, and because there is "nothing else like this in the works. Also, I had never played a priest before. Brilliant typecasting, don't you think?"

Both Lusko and Thompson were pitching the film to Larry King on Thursday on his show, PoliticKing. "I certainly think it's healthy to ask questions about where our freedoms are going," Lusko told King. "It's a power struggle and church-state type issues, but wrapped within a good, old-fashioned Washington thriller," Thompson added.

Millennium Entertainment, partially owned by Nu Image and Exclusive Media Group, was founded in 2010 and is run by CEO Bill Lee.