Roadside, Goldwyn will play 'Hearts'


NEW YORK -- The true crime thriller "Lonely Hearts," starring John Travolta, James Gandolfini, Jared Leto, Salma Hayek, Scott Caan and Laura Dern, has been picked up for U.S. theatrical distribution by Roadside Attractions and Samuel Goldwyn Films.

Screenwriter-director Todd Robinson based the film on an investigation by his grandfather, Detective Elmer C. Robinson (Travolta), into an infamous serial killing spree by "Lonely Heart Killers" Martha Beck (Hayek) and Raymond Fernandez (Leto). Gandolfini will play Robinson's partner Charles Hildebrandt, Caan will play another detective on the case, and Dern will play a co-worker having an affair with Robinson.

"This story has long exerted fascination from filmmakers," said Roadside co-president Howard Cohen, noting that Leonard Kastle's 1970 cult classic "The Honeymoon Killers" and Arturo Ripstein's 1996 Spanish-language film "Deep Crimson" (Profundo Carmesi) also covered the tale. Martin Scorsese was fired from "Killers" after a week on the job.

"This unique film is both a high-voltage thriller and a personal, emotional story," Goldwyn president Meyer Gottlieb said. The distributors, who enjoyed recent success with Michael Apted's "Amazing Grace," plan to release the film in theaters April 13. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release the film on DVD in late summer/early fall.

"Hearts" made its debut at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival. It was produced and financed by Avi Lerner's Millennium Films. Boaz Davidson and Holly Wiersma served as producers on the project from Millennium Films/Equity Pictures Medienfonds GmbH & Co. KG III. The executive producers are Randall Emmett, George Furla, Josef Lautenschlager, Andreas Thiesmeyer, Manfred Heid, Gerd Koechlin, Avi Lerner, Danny Dimbort, John Thompson and Trevor Short.