Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton lead ‘Parkland’

Jacki Weaver also cast in Tom Hanks' JFK assassination drama

Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton and Jacki Weaver will topline “Parkland,” the indie drama about the assassination of John F. Kennedy that will mark the directorial debut of scribe Peter Landesman.

Variety first reported on Aug. 16 that Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman were producing “Parkland.” Exclusive Media toppers Nigel Sinclair and Guy East announced Tuesday that the company has come on board to produce and finance.

Pic chronicles the events leading up to JFK’s assassination and Abraham Zapruder’s famous documentation of the event. The title refers to Parkland Memorial Hospital, where Kennedy was rushed on Nov. 22, 1963 and later pronounced dead. Two days later, his assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald died at Parkland.

As part of the production deal, Exclusive Media has optioned the rights to the book which provides the source material for the film, “Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy” by former prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi. The work was published in 2007 by W.W. Norton & Company and won the 2008 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime.

Landesman is adapting the screenplay. The film, to be shot in Austin, Texas, is being planned for a 2013 U.S. theatrical release to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the assassination.

“Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman are two exceptional producers with great taste so we are delighted to be collaborating with them on this fascinating film about such a significant chapter in American history,” Sinclair and East. “Paul, Billy Bob and Jacki are perfectly cast to bring Vincent’s book to life.”

Exclusive Media’s Matt Jackson will oversee the production on behalf of the company and Exclusive Media will handle the worldwide distribution rights to the movie, which will be introduced to buyers at the American Film Market.

Giamatti is shooting “Saving Mr. Banks” for Disney. Weaver will be seen in “Silver Linings Playbook.” Thornton recently directed “Jayne Mansfield’s Car.” Landesman previously wrote the New York Times article “The Girls Next Door,” which served as the basis for the 2007 Kevin Kline drama “Trade,” which Landesman exec produced.

Dan Stutz negotiated the book rights deal on behalf of Exclusive Media with Bugliosi’s literary manager Peter Miller of Global Lion Intellectual Property Management.

Giamatti is repped by UTA and managed by Perri Kipperman. Thornton is repped by WME and Weaver by ICM Partners and Elevate Entertainment’s Alex Cole.

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