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‘Time’s’ marching on to TriStar movie pact

TriStar Pictures producers Cary Woods and Rob Fried confirmed Monday the acquisition of movie rights to playwright and veteran New York actor Evan Handler’s one-man show “Time on Fire.”

“Time on Fire” is described as the humorous, outrageous and defiant story of Handler’s lengthy battle with leukemia. Woods describes the voice of the play as “Neil Simon meets Stanley Kubrick.” The play begins a seven-week run in Manhattan next month.

The project virtually landed right in Woods’ back yard.

In January, Woods was staying at his New York apartment when a five-day workshop of “Time on Fire” at the Naked Angels Theatre was being held across the street.

“I went to the theater because everything that is done at (Naked Angels) is interesting,” Woods said, adding that the Gotham-based theater troupe features such members as Fisher Stevens (“Super Mario Brothers”), “Northern Exposure” star Rob Morrow, Nancy Travis (“The Vanishing”), Academy Award winner Marisa Tomei and playwrights Jon Robin Baitz and Frank Pugliese. “It never occurred to me that there may be a movie in it.”

Fried/Woods Films purchased “Time on Fire” out of its discretionary fund at TriStar Pictures, where it has such current properties as “So, I Married an Ax Murderer,” and “Rudy” readying for 1993 release. Terms of “Time on Fire” acquisition could not be confirmed.

Woods said he was specifically drawn to “Time on Fire” because Handler offers a fresh voice, including irreverent humor, in describing his lengthy battle with leukemia and recovery through a bone marrow transplant.

The 32-year-old Handler has played leading roles in seven Broadway productions, including “I Hate Hamlet,””Master Harold … and the Boys” and “Brighton Beach Memoirs.” His most recent television role was on the Fox sitcom “Woops!” William Morris Agency motion picture and talent agent Erica Spellman-Silverman brokered the movie rights.

Acquisition of “Time on Fire” points up the eclectic tastes of the Fried/Woods banner. Beyond the big-budget “Godzilla” and the $ 1 million screenplay “Him,” the company is actively developing the lower-budgeted “Murder Inc.” with director Rob Weiss (“Amongst Friends”) attached.

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