'Philadelphia' scribe tackles true-life tale of terminal illness

Ron Nyswaner will adapt Cynthia Wade’s 2007 Oscar-winning short doc “Freeheld” into a feature film starring Ellen Page. James D. Stern’s Endgame Entertainment is financing.

Stern will produce with Double Feature Films’ Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher and Vie Entertainment’s Kelly Bush and Cynthia Wade. Endgame’s Doug Hansen and Adam Del Deo are exec producers.

Wade’s “Freeheld” tells the true story of New Jersey car mechanic Stacie Andree and her domestic partner Laurel Hester, a police detective who tries to secure pension benefits for her partner after she’s diagnosed with a terminal illness, only to be turned down by Republican legislators.

“As a documentarian and feature producer, you always look for powerful stories with subject matter that will resonate with audiences, and Cynthia’s remarkable chronicle of the battle forged by two women did just that,” said Stern.

Nyswaner is no stranger to portraying the battle for gay rights on the bigscreen, having penned “Philadelphia.” His other credits include “The Painted Veil” and “Soldier’s Girl.”

Page (“Juno”) will next be seen in Christopher Nolan’s Leonardo DiCaprio starrer “Inception,” which Warner Bros. opens later this summer. Endgame has co-financed more than 25 titles, including “Hotel Rwanda” and “Lord of War.”

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