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Myriad gets in ‘Knife Fight’

Company set to handle pic's sales outside North America

Myriad Pictures has decided to join “Knife Fight,” coming on board to handle sales outside North America for Bill Guttentag’s political comedy starring Rob Lowe.

The deal sets up “Knife Fight” for release during the upcoming election year. Myriad made the announcement Sunday at the Toronto Film Festival, where Myriad has a trio of pics in premieres, “Edwin Boyd,” “Goon” and “Sisters and Brothers.”

Myriad said it plans to create a trailer for the American Film Market in November, adding that “Knife Fight” will be ready to screen for the early 2012 festival season. Pic also stars Julie Bowen, Jamie Chung, Carrie-Anne Moss, Eric McCormack and Richard Schiff.

Guttentag directed from a script he co-wrote with prominent political consultant Chris Lehane, best known as a “Master of Disaster” (along with Mark Fabiani) as a White House advisor to President Bill Clinton. He also later served as Al Gore’s press secretary and advised John Kerry.

“Knife Fight” is Lehane’s first feature script. The film follows three political candidates running for public office with Lowe, playing a fictional political crisis manager based on Lehane — and Chung portraying his administrative aide while Bowen plays a reporter who sleeps her way to major news stories.

The film is produced by Guerrino De Luca of delucafilms, and Daniel Davila and Catherine Davila of Davisidero Pictures. “Knife Fight” completed principal photography this summer in San Francisco.

Myriad Director of Development Ari Haas brought the project to Myriad. Haas and Catherine Davila attended graduate school at USC together.

Myriad Pictures CEO Kirk D’Amico said, “‘Knife Fight’ is a compelling satirical comedy which comes at the perfect time as we embark on an election year. Chris and Bill’s script is especially non-partisan in that it skewers politicians on both sides of the aisle.”

Lehane said he believes there is keen interest around the world in American politics. “Knife Fight takes you into the back room to see what our political leaders are really made of and to explore a central tension in modern day U.S. politics: that the people who lead us are individuals with both extraordinary talents and extraordinary flaws that often lead them to the breaking of their promises,” he added.

Lehane told Variety that the idea for “Knife Fight” originated when he met Guttentag following a 2008 lecture that Lehane had given at Stanford University. The title arose from Lehane’s comment that “a political campaign is like a knife fight in a phone booth.”

Lehane said that he was struck by the similarities in filmmaking and political campaigning.

“It takes 12 to 18 months in both to go from a mom and pop operation to a Fortune 500 company,” he noted. “The big difference is that you only have one shot in campaigning while in film, you can keep shooting until you get it perfect.”

As for any resemblance to Lowe, Lehane replied, “With tongue firmly in cheek, I say that he’s a less good-looking version of me.”

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