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Seagal gets ‘Patriot’-ic with indie

Steven Seagal will star and Paul Mones will direct the $35 million indie action pic “The Patriot,” which will be unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival, it was announced Thursday.

The action-thriller is the first indie foray for Seagal, who has starred in “Above the Law,” “Hard to Kill” and “Under Siege,” after starting his career as Michael Ovitz’s aikido instructor. In “The Patriot,” penned by Mones, Seagal will play a doctor who needs to save himself, his daughter and millions of others from a biochemical terrorism threat from a fanatical militia group in Montana.

Lensing for the pic, produced by Patrick Choi and Nile Niami of Interlight Pictures, as well as Howard Baldwin of Baldwin/Cohen Prods., will begin in Montana this September and is expected to hit screens by fall 1998. Ilshin Investment and Victor Hwang will exec produce and Interlight has worldwide distribution rights.

“Steven is perfect for this role, portraying someone who learns how to survive and be resourceful,” Mones said in a statement. “We’re fortunate to have caught him at the perfect moment,” he added, referring to Seagal recently completing a four-pic deal with Warner Bros.

Mones has penned Mandalay Entertainment and Columbia Pictures’ “Double Team” and Universal’s “The Quest.”

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