Goldwyn acquires 'Violet' and 'Gentleman'

Receives domestic distribution rights for both

It's all flowers and merriment for the Samuel Goldwyn Films this week at AFM.

The company has acquired domestic distribution rights to the Uncommon Prods. project "American Violet" as well as actor Michael Keaton's directorial debut, "The Merry Gentleman."

Lightning Entertainment is repping "Gentleman" at AFM, along with "La Linea," "The Human Contract," "The Shortcut" and "Trailer Park of Terror."

"Gentleman" premiered at the 2008 Sundance film festival to generally positive reaction and kudos for Keaton's skills behind the camera. The moody drama, written by Ron Lazzeretti, stars Keaton as an ill, depressed hit man in Chicago who enters into an unlikely friendship with a battered woman, played by Kelly Macdonald, running from her abusive cop husband.

But all was not merry during post-production on the film, as several principals argued over control of the editing and subsequent cuts of the movie, including Keaton and Tom Bastounes, one of the film's producers and a co-star in the film. Lawsuits were threatened, though none were actually filed.

"Violet," which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in September, was directed by Tim Disney ("A Question of Faith") and stars Alfre Woodard, Michael O'Keefe, Charles Dutton, Xzibit and Tim Blake Nelson. The story, inspired by true events, takes place during the 2000 presidential election and details the struggle of an innocent African-American single mother swept up in a drug raid as she battles the Texas justice system.

The "Violet" deal was negotiated by Goldwyn Films vp acquisitions Peter Goldwyn and Peter Newman and M.J. Peckos for Uncommon Prods.

Goldwyn plans to release both films in the U.S. market in March 2009. The Goldwyn Co. most recently released "Elegy" and the documentary "Trumbo."

Uncommon also produced the documentary, "The Price of Sugar," narrated by the late Paul Newman.
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