O'Connor sets up 'Warrior' with Lionsgate

Warner Bros. has set a release date for director Gavin O’Connor’s long-gestating film “Pride and Glory.” Meanwhile, O’Connor has set up his next pic, “Warrior,” at Lionsgate.

“Pride and Glory,” a drama about corruption in a family of Gotham police officers that stars Colin Farrell, Edward Norton, Jon Voight and Noah Emmerich, will open on 2,200 screens on Oct. 24. Before that Warner Bros. will unspool the film at a gala Toronto Film Festival screening in September.

Warner’s plan marks a dramatic turnaround for a film whose previous March 14 bow was scrapped by New Line, prompting the director and cast to go public with their frustration and fear that the film would disappear.

O’Connor put the blame squarely on New Line topper Bob Shaye (Daily Variety, Feb. 27), who left when WB downsized the mini-major weeks later. “Pride and Glory” was one of several New Line films that were in limbo but have been put on the WB release schedule.

O’Connor had originally set “Warrior” at New Line, but the “Pride and Glory” situation soured the relationship. Lionsgate has acquired the script, a mixed-martial-arts saga about two estranged brothers on a collision course to fight in a tournament for the heavyweight championship.

O’Connor wrote the script with A.M. Tambakis and Cliff Dorfman, and the helmer will produce with his brother, Greg O’Connor. The helmer credited New Line head Toby Emmerich with being “gracious enough to let it go” to Lionsgate.

O’Connor conceived the drama as a potential trilogy, and Lionsgate will also be involved in a mixed-martial-arts tournament dubbed Sparta that will be launched in connection with the movie.

O’Connor has partnered in the 16-man grand prix tourney project with UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture, who will play himself in the film. O’Connor has begun casting “Warrior,” set to shoot January in Mexico and Pittsburgh.

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