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United Artists celebrates ‘Birthday’

Studio is life of the 'Party'

United Artists has optioned nonfiction book “The Birthday Party,” a prosecutor’s account of a night in 1998 when he was kidnapped.

Putnam just published the book.

Assistant U.S. attorney Stanley Alpert was returning from a blind date when he was accosted by three gunmen. Originally intent on siphoning $1,000 from his ATM, the thugs revised their plan upon learning from Alpert that he had $100,000 in the bank. During the time they held him hostage in a Queens, N.Y., apartment, a bit of bonding ensued.

Several studios were interested in the book, which was repped by IPG’s Joel Gotler. The material could be framed either as a drama or a comedy given the naivete of the gunmen.

It becomes one of the first properties optioned by UA since Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner took over the shingle.

Cruise and Wagner just began production on UA’s first film, the Robert Redford-directed “Lions for Lambs.”

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