Production begins in September

Richard Gere will star in and produce “Hachiko: A Dog’s Story,” a drama that will begin production in September.

The film will be fully financed by Inferno Entertainment, whose Bill Johnson and Vicky Shigekuni Wong will produce with Gere. They are closing in on a director.

Gere will play a college professor who takes in a dog he finds abandoned. Both man and hound find their lives changed forever as they form an unbreakable bond. Scripted by Stephen P. Lindsay, the project is based on a true story and inspired by the 1987 Japanese film “Hachiko monogatari.”

Movie will be produced in association with Japan-based Shochiku.

Inferno partner Jim Seibel and Paul Mason will exec produce, and Dean Schnider will co-produce. Inferno, which recently wrapped “Smother” with Diane Keaton and is teamed with Mandeville on Paul Walker starrer “The Heaven Project,” will sell international rights. ICM Independent packaged the film and will broker a domestic distribution deal.

Gere will next be seen in the Killer Films drama “I’m Not There” and TWC’s “Spring Break in Bosnia.” He’s starring with Diane Lane in “Nights in Rodanthe,” the George Wolfe-directed adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks bestseller for Warner Bros.

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