Deals: Endgame to Finance Drama With Ellen Page, Ron Nyswaner

Based on Academy Award-winning documentary short, drama leads with “Juno” star

Read full Cannes coverage at Report From Cannes  and WaxWord Cannes.

Jim Stern’s Endgame Entertainment announced Tuesday it would be financing a feature film starring Ellen Page ("Juno"), and written by Ron Nyswaner ("Philadelphia") drama based on the Oscar-winning documentary short "Freeheld."

The film tells the story of a gay New Jersey car mechanic (Page) who struggles to get medical and work benefits after her girlfriend, a police detective, is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Michael Shamberg and Stacy Sher will produce, along with Stern, Vie Entertaiment’s Kelly Bush and Cynthia Wade

Full news release below: 

Los Angeles, Cannes (May 18, 2010) – Academy Award®-nominated screenwriter Ron Nyswaner (Philadelphia) will adapt Cynthia Wade’s 2007 Oscar®-winning documentary Freeheld into a feature film to star Academy Award®-nominee Ellen Page (Juno, Inception). The Endgame Entertainment-financed film will be produced by Endgame’s James D. Stern, Double Feature Films’ Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher, Vie Entertainment’s Kelly Bush, and Cynthia Wade. Endgame’s Doug Hansen and Adam Del Deo will executive produce.

Freeheld examines the true story of New Jersey car mechanic Stacie Andree (Page) and her police detective girlfriend Laurel Hester’s struggle to secure pension benefits after Hester’s diagnosis with a terminal illness.  The struggle that ensued with the county legislators exposed government corruption, long-gestating community bigotry and the courage of individuals in a battle for equality that resonated around the world.

“As a documentarian and feature producer, you always look for powerful stories with subject matter that will resonate with audiences, and Cynthia’s remarkable chronicle of the battle forged by two women did just that,” says Stern. “We are thrilled that Double Feature Films brought the project to us and that Ron, Ellen and our production partners are on board to do this unforgettable and relevant story justice.”

"We saw Cynthia’s wonderful documentary and right away we knew it would be a great dramatic film,” recall Shamberg and Sher. “Ellen was our first and only choice for this and Endgame is the perfect home."

Nyswaner was nominated for an Oscar®, Golden Globe® and WGA® Award for Jonathan Demme’s Philadelphia and an Independent Spirit Award for The Painted Veil. He also penned the critically-acclaimed “Soldier’s Girl.” Nyswaner’s adaptation of Hamlet for director Catherine Hardwicke is currently in production.

Page will next be seen opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in this summer’s Inception, for director Christopher Nolan. The actress has recently completed shooting Super opposite Rainn Wilson, Liv Tyler, and Kevin Bacon, directed by James Gunn and slated for a 2010 release.

Shamberg and Sher’s Double Feature Films has produced several films based on true stories, including Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center, Freedom Writers and the Oscar®-winning Erin Brockovich.

About Endgame Entertainment

Endgame Entertainment, under the leadership of CEO James D. Stern, is a production/financing company with over $100 million in operating capital.  The company is currently in post-production on The Hungry Rabbit Jumps, directed by Roger Donaldson and starring Nicolas Cage. Recently released titles include the Academy Award nominated An Education (Sony Pictures Classics); and Every Little Step (Sony Pictures Classics), a documentary on the making of Broadway’s longest-running musical and current revival that was shortlisted for an Academy Award.  Other titles include Summit’s caper comedy The Brothers Bloom; and Sony Pictures Classic’s Easy Virtue; as well as The Weinstein Company’s Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There. Since its inception in 2003, Endgame has co-financed more than 25 features including Hotel Rwanda and Lord of War for Lionsgate; Proof for Miramax; White Noise for Universal; Stay Alive for Hollywood Pictures; and the New Line comedy Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.

Read full Cannes coverage at Report From Cannes  and WaxWord Cannes.