October grabs rights to Altman’s ‘Fortune’

Helmer assembles diverse, exciting cast

October Films has acquired North American and U.K. rights to Robert Altman’s comedy of manners “Cookie’s Fortune,” which will star Glenn Close, Julianne Moore, Chris O’Donnell and Liv Tyler.

“Cookie” will be produced by Moonstone Entertainment’s Ernst (Etchie) Stroh and Altman, who collaborated on last year’s Altman-produced “Afterglow,” which was directed by Alan Rudolph.

“Robert Altman is one of the defining directors of his generation,” said October co-president Scott Greenstein, “and he has assembled an amazing cast for this film.”

Co-starring in the pic are Charles Dutton, Patricia Neal, Ned Beatty, Courtney Vance, Donald Moffett and Lyle Lovett. Shooting begins this summer.

Although none of the producing parties would disclose the pic’s budget, the talent is believed to have signed on for a fraction of their usual fees.

Willi Baer will exec produce the pic, the story of an alleged murder and the ensuing investigation in the deep South.

Baer and Stroh have a joint filmmaking venture, Elysian Dreams. Baer was also an exec producer on “Afterglow,” which was handled by Sony Pictures Classics in the U.S.

Stroh’s Moonstone Entertainment is financing the pic and handling worldwide sales. The film is now sold worldwide outside Japan, Korea and Australia.

Moonstone has sold it to BAC Films (France), Pandora (Germany), Lucky Red (Italy), U-Films (Spain) and RCV 2000 (Benelux).”Cookie” will be Altman’s 33rd picture. His other credits include “The Long Goodbye,” “McCabe and Mrs. Miller,” “M*A*S*H,” “The Player,” “Short Cuts” and “The Gingerbread Man.”

October’s deal was negotiated by Greenstein and Avy Eschenasy, October’s senior vice president, business affairs. The filmmakers were repped by Stroh, Altman’s attorney George Sheanshang and ICM’s Ken Kamins.