Cassavetes to helm 'Harvey'

Nick Cassavetes is attached to write and direct “Bombing Harvey,” a fact-based drama about a millionaire who tried to cover his gambling losses by planting a bomb and extorting $3 million from a Lake Tahoe casino.

Pic has been set up at Firm Films, whose Julie Yorn and Rick Yorn will produce with Pelagius Films duo Joey Rappa and Joe Fries. They will take it to studios next week, starting with Fox, where Firm Films has a first-look deal.

The 1980 incident ended when authorities detonated the device and destroyed Harvey’s Resort Hotel. The bomber was John Birges, a Hungarian scientist who came to the U.S. and became a major landscape contractor in California. Birges was caught after being turned in by his son, John Birges Jr. The senior Birges had lost $3 million at the casino and was attempting to get the money back.

Birges Jr., who is participating in the film, helped his father get hundreds of sticks of dynamite to build the bomb but ultimately called the FBI after discovering his father had enlisted his younger brother in a plan to bomb Bank of America, which was foreclosing on the family ranch. Birges Jr. served 18 months for initially lying about the crime.

Birges Jr. was repairing the roof of the offices that house Pelagius Films. He asked Rappa and Fries if he could tell them his story.

Cassavetes, who just completed “Alpha Dog,” is set to next direct his scripted adaptation of the Boston Teran novel “God Is a Bullet,” with Sidney Kimmel and Chuck Pacheco producing and Kimmel Entertainment financing.

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