Searchlight finds its ‘Company’

Redford to helm, produce

Robert Redford will direct romantic thriller “The Company You Keep” for specialized division Fox Searchlight. Pic is based on Neil Gordon’s third novel of the same name.

Redford will also produce the pic through his Wildwood label with partner Karen Tenkhoff and with Jake Eberts’ Allied Prods.

Screenwriter Lem Dobbs (“The Score,” “The Limey”) has been hired to adapt the book, published by Viking over the summer.

“Company” is the story of a single dad whose upper-middle class existence as an attorney in upstate New York is disrupted when his old life as a militant in the Weather Underground returns to haunt him. Accused of being the triggerman at a deadly bank robbery, he is forced to go on the lam to find an old flame — a woman who can prove his innocence.

Redford, in a statement, called the book “a really contemporary look at the past — the sometimes misguided choices of youth, the challenges of love and conviction — and how they all collide in the present.” Jake Eberts told Daily Variety that he and Redford screened Sam Green and Bill Siegel’s 2002 docu “The Weather Underground” at Redford’s Sundance Film Fest last year and both emerged even more fascinated with the emotions and convictions that shaped the times.

“The passions that were ignited by those events and the extent to which they would go to express their beliefs, compared to these days where everyone is so apolitical, is extraordinary,” Eberts said. Less clear is what will come of Redford’s plans to remake his 1972 Oscar-winning pic “The Candidate,” about a senatorial challenger’s bizarre journey toward high office.

In January, Redford told Daily Variety that a new script by Larry Gelbart had been penned and that the planned remake was to have had Redford’s Bill McKay character as president as the picture opened.

Redford was to have replaced the late Michael Ritchie in the director’s chair, with an eye toward a release by Warner Bros. in the runup to the 2004 presidential elections.

Eberts said he could not address the status of “The Candidate” as he is not involved. “Company,” though, may go before cameras by spring of next year.

“Company” book rights were repped by Michael Siegel & Associates; Redford and Dobbs by CAA.

Redford most recently starred in “The Clearing” at Fox Searchlight.

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