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Markey gives life to ‘Heart’

Producer Patrick Markey is currently developing a number of projects through his Fostoria Film Co., including “Heart Mountain,” to which Robert Redford is attached as star and director.

The project is the latest collaboration between Markey and Robert Redford, who together produced Columbia’s current sleeper hit, “A River Runs Through It,” which Redford directed.

Described by Markey as “a non-traditional western,””Heart Mountain” is a love story set during World War II about a Wyoming rancher who falls in love with a Japanese woman interned near his ranch. The screenplay is currently being written by Gretel Ehrlich, based on her novel published several years ago. The film will be a co-production of Markey’s company and Redford’s Wildwood Enterprises.

Markey began his association with Redford while working at the Ohio Film Commission during the filming of “Brubaker.” Several years later he worked as location manager on Redford’s directorial debut, “Ordinary People,” and in 1984 was a production exec on “The Natural.”

While financing is not yet in place for the film, which is budgeted at $ 30 million, Markey says that because of the subject matter, he’s been trying to get funding in Japan.

“I’d like to get at least co-financing deal out of there,” says Markey, who’s currently co-producing “The Joy Luck Club.””I think that’s a natural place to look for money for this.”

Asked about the similarity in subject matter to Alan Parker’s less-than-successful “Come See the Paradise,” Markey admits that factor has made things slightly more difficult — even with Redford’s involvement.

“The fact that ‘Come See the Paradise’ was a failure has made this one harder to sell,” says Markey. “They all know about it and the fact that it wasn’t a success. That is something that I have to deal with. I’ve run into a lot of resistance.”

Another project on Markey’s development front burner is “Truck Dance,” which ICM is actively packaging with Anne Archer in the starring role. Like many of Markey’s other projects, this one’s based on a book. Victoria Jenkins is slated to write the screenplay based on Olive Hershey’s novel about a Texas woman who decides to leave her disintegrating marriage behind as she sets out on the road accompanied by a 15-year-old girl and her newborn baby.

Another novel that Markey is developing is “Death and the Good Life.” Based on Richard Hugo’s book about a poetry-writing homocide cop who moves from a big city to a small Montana town, the screenplay was written by Michael Hacker.

One of the projects that isn’t based on a book is “Vista,” a screenplay written by West Virginia writer-director Danny Boyd, described by Markey as “a political-action comedy” set during Robert Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign.

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