EXCLUSIVE: Oscar nominee Michael Keaton is in negotiations to star in real-life inspirational drama, What Is Life Worth. David Frankel is directing from Max Borenstein’s 2008 Black List script that’s based on Kenneth Feinberg’s acclaimed memoir recounting the inside story of the 9/11 Fund and its effort to compensate victims. IMR is launching the project here at the EFM.
Spotlight‘s Michael Sugar will produce alongside MadRiver’s Marc Butan, Sean Sorensen and Borenstein and Bard Dorros. Kim Fox is exec producing along with Riverstone’s Nik Bower and Deepak Nayar. Riverstone is financing.
What Is Life Worth is billed as in the vein of Erin Brockovich and Oscar-winning Keaton-starrer Spotlight. It centers on Feinberg, the powerful DC insider lawyer who was put in charge of the 9/11 Fund. In almost three years of pro bono work on the case, Feinberg fought off the cynicism, bureaucracy and politics associated with administering government funds. He personally struggled against the justice system’s notion that compensation for death should be directly related to the financial circumstances of each victim, ultimately discovering what life is worth and coming away with the belief that all should be treated the same.
Feinberg’s book, whose full title is What Is Life Worth?: The Inside Story Of The 9/11 Fund And Its Effort To Compensate The Victims Of September 11th, was published by Hachette in 2006. Sorensen acquired the rights and developed the script with Borenstein. What Is Life Worth was also developed with Isabella’s Basil Productions.
Keaton won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Oscar for Alejandro G Inarritu’s 2014 Birdman and recently wrapped production on Tim Burton’s Dumbo. He was also seen in last year’s smash Spider-Man: Homecoming and Michael Cuesta’s American Assassin. Additional casting on What Is Life Worth is underway.
Frankel is best known for helming The Devil Wears Prada and Marley And Me. He won a Primetime Emmy for his work on HBO’s Band Of Brothers, and a 1997 Oscar for his short, Dear Diary. More recent credits include Hope Springs featuring Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, and Steve Carell; and the Will Smith-starrer Collateral Beauty.
Borenstein co-wrote Legendary and Warner’s upcoming monster mash, Godzilla: King Of The Monsters, and last year’s global hit Kong: Skull Island.
Riverstone Pictures recently financed Julian Schnabel’s At Eternity’s Gate and Harmony Korine’s The Beach Bum, and produced Stanley Tucci’s Final Portrait starring Geoffrey Rush and Armie Hammer, which debuted in Berlin last year.
Keaton is repped by ICM Partners, Frankel is repped by WME and Anonymous Content, and Borenstein is repped by UTA.