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Benton’s Lakeshore drive

Helmer signs on for 'Love,' 'Appointment'

Robert Benton has signed a two-picture pact with Lakeshore Entertainment to direct two films, “Feast of Love” and “Appointment in Samarra.”

Deal brings him back into the Lakeshore fold after helming the 2003 drama “The Human Stain.”

“Feast of Love” is based on the novel by Charles Baxter. Story, adapted by Allison Burnett, is described as a romance revolving around a community of friends in Oregon.

Lakeshore’s Tom Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi are producing. Shooting starts in August with Lakeshore Intl. repping foreign rights at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival.

“Appointment in Samarra” is based on the novel by John O’Hara. Story, adapted by Benton, centers on the social circuit in Gibbsville, Pa. At the heart of the scene is a glamorous couple who are the envy of almost everyone in town until the husband begins down a self-destructive path. Barry Mendel and David Brown are producing with Rosenberg and Lucchesi.

Shooting is pegged for 2007.