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Indie unit plants ‘Redwoods’

Baldwin shingle goes green with 'Luna' tale

Baldwin Entertainment Group (“Ray”) has optioned film rights to Julia Butterfly Hill’s “The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods” and signed Oscar winner David S. Ward to pen the script.

The story recounts Hill’s two years of living in a 1,000-year-old California redwood, dubbed Luna, as a way of bringing attention to the cutting of ancient redwoods and the damage from deforestation.

She climbed up the 200-foot tree in December 1997 and didn’t come down until 738 days later after reaching an agreement with the landowners to protect the tree and the surrounding area.

Howard and Karen Baldwin will produce along with Andrew Cohen, son of Richard Cohen, who was partnered with the Baldwins in Baldwin-Cohen Entertainment. That shingle produced “Mystery, Alaska” and “Resurrection.”

Ward won an Oscar for “The Sting” and shared a nom with Nora Ephron for “Sleepless in Seattle.”

“It’s great to work on a project so vital to our times,” Ward said.

The producers also plan to shoot “Luna” by using an ecologically oriented “green set.” “We hope it will start a trend in the film industry by encouraging others to follow suit,” Howard Baldwin said.

Hill received multiple offers for the rights to the book (which she had insisted be printed on post-consumer recycled paper, whitened without chlorine bleach and printed with plant-based inks.)

The Baldwins, who ran Crusader Entertainment for Philip Anschutz for three years, set up Baldwin Entertainment Group last spring to develop and produce a slate of three films per year. The producing team ankled Crusader — which was recently renamed Bristol Bay — this year after producing half a dozen films including Universal’s “Ray,” starring Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles and due out Oct. 29; MGM’s “Swimming Upstream,” with Geoffrey Rush and Judy Davis; Warner Bros.’ “A Sound of Thunder,” with Ben Kingsley and soccer drama “The Game of Their Lives”; and Paramount’s action-adventure “Sahara,” starring Matthew McConaughey.

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