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‘Holy Rollers’ Director Kevin Asch Boards Crime Drama ‘Zealous’

“Holy Rollers” director Kevin Asch is on board to helm Israeli crime drama “Zealous,” Variety has learned exclusively.

Asch will re-team with “Holy Rollers” actor/producer Danny A. Abeckaser on “Zealous,” which will be set in New York City with shooting starting in the fall.

The story, written by Asch, Abeckaser and Jon Carlo, centers on an Israeli ex-con with a violent past who joins a burgeoning Israeli crime syndicate in Brooklyn amidst a brutal turf war with the Russian mob. Abeckaser will star and produce.

“I was instantly drawn to the material of the film,” Asch said. “Danny and I are fascinated with exploring cultural components in classic crime dramas. The challenge as a director is to not let the trappings of the genre confine the narrative, but rather, to create flawed characters with souls, who provide a deliberate voice and direction to our story.

“Holy Rollers” starred Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Bartha, Ari Graynor, Q-Tip and Jason Fuchs, along with Abeckasser. Written by Antonio Macia, “Holy Rollers” was inspired by the actual events of the late 1990s when Hasidic Jews were recruited to smuggle ecstasy into the United States.

Asch won the breakthrough director award at the 2010 Gotham Awards for “Holy Rollers.” He also directed 2014’s “Affluenza.”

Abeckaser starred in “A Stand Up Guy” as a mobster who attempts stand-up comedy while in the Witness Protection Program. He also appeared in “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

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