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Trio making off with ‘Bandit’

Filmmakers to focus on bank robber's crime spree

Di Bonaventura Pictures and Killer Films have optioned Timothy Ford’s article “The Yankee Bandit,” originally published in Gear magazine, for Tristan Patterson to adapt and make his directing debut. John Wells and Ford will serve as executive producers.

“The Yankee Bandit,” which Ford is now expanding into a book, recounts the life of charismatic charmer Eddie Dodson. His art deco furniture store on Melrose Avenue attracted Hollywood hipsters, but friends were shocked when he was identified as “The Yankee Bandit” in 1984, responsible for robbing 64 banks over nine months. On one afternoon, he robbed six banks in a matter of hours.

“Eddie’s lust for life was contagious,” said Patterson. “Even the bank tellers he robbed liked him.”

After Dodson served a 12-year prison term, he became a caretaker for Jack Nicholson’s Malibu home, living in his guesthouse. Then, he was arrested again in 1999 for robbing banks. After serving a three-year prison term, he died last February at the age of 54 of liver failure.

Ford was a friend of Dodson and, at the time of his death, planned on co-writing his memoirs. Dodson left Ford journals, letters and thousands of pages of writing about his life.

Di Bonaventura and Killer plan to focus their project on the crime spree that originally brought Dodson to authorities’ attention.

Lorenzo Di Bonaventura first worked with Killer when he headed production at Warner Bros. Pictures and he signed the shingle to a first-look deal. Killer is partially bankrolled by Warners-based Wells.

Overseeing the project are Bradford Simpson and Christine Vachon for Killer and Jeremy Steckler, VP production and development for Di Bonaventura Pictures.

Represented by UTA and Management 360, Patterson has completed a number of high-profile writing projects, including “The Regulators” for Disney, “Fantastic Four” for 20th Century Fox and “C.H.R.U.S.H.” for Jerry Bruckheimer. His spec, “Superstar 81,” set in the world of early ’80s skateboarding, is being developed by Killer and he is adapting “The Fall Guy” for Warners.