‘Whale’ helmer Caro goes to ‘Class’

Production to begin later this year on WB pic

NEW YORK — “Whale Rider” helmer Niki Caro is set to direct “Class Action,” an “Erin Brockovich”-style fictionalized account of the first major successful sexual harassment prosecution in the U.S.

Pic is being mounted by Warner Bros. and Industry Entertainment, and production will begin later this year under Industry’s new WB deal.

Scripted by Michael Seitzman, “Class Action” is based on the nonfiction book by Clara Bingham and Laura Leedy about Jenson vs. Eveleth Mines, a case that forced corporations to take seriously sexual harassment in the workplace.

The book “Class Action” centered on Lori Jenson, who took a job at a Minnesota iron mine in 1975. She and other female miners endured harassment from male co-workers, ranging from verbal taunts to pornographic graffiti and worse. Jenson eventually filed suit in 1984 and won a landmark legal decision.

Producer Nick Wechsler said numerous female directors sought the assignment, but he and the studio felt most comfortable with Caro.

“She made an extraordinary film and was so captivating in the room,” said Wechsler, who’ll produce with Nana Greenwald. Helen Bartlett will exec produce.

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