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Ron Shelton Directing ‘Escape Artist’ Movie on Ed ‘Hacksaw’ Jones

Gold Star Films and Signature Films have hired Ron Shelton to direct “Escape Artist,” a project about Ed “Hacksaw” Jones, whose claim to fame is that he broke out of 14 prisons.

Jones became the first person to ever be put on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list without ever committing a violent crime. The project was announced Friday at the American Film Market.

Gold Star Films co-chairman, Joey Tufaro, Signature Films founder, Marc Goldberg, and production executive Sarah Gabriel are producing the film. John Watson and Kellie Davis will also be producing alongside Gold Star Films co-chairman, Todd Trosclair, who will serve as an executive producer. The film is slated to be shot in the greater New Orleans area.

The story will center on Jones being falsely sentenced to 10 years of hard labor in a chain gang, then escaping and beginning a life on the run as a master escape artist. Described as handsome, charming and charismatic, he became a folk hero to many as he continually re-invented himself until the FBI finally caught up with him.

“I got to know Ed well when he rented a house in the Hollywood Hills from me after I moved out,” Shelton said. “Ed was the greatest tenant in history — the bed was always made with the sheets tucked in without a wrinkle. The house was spotless. He changed the locks so even I couldn’t get in. And he paid six months in advance — all cash! We’d sit around drinking his beloved Chivas Regal and the stories would start flowing till the bottle was drained. Though much of his life was stolen from him by a cruel and flawed criminal justice system, he managed to live a thousand wondrous lives with the time he had.”

Gold Star Films produced  “Kidnap,” staring Halle Berry, and “Maggie,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin.

Signature Films most recently produced Scott Mann’s “Final Score,” starring Dave Bautista and Pierce Brosnan, and “The Hatton Garden Job” starring Matthew Goode and Stephen Moyer.

Shelton is repped by CAA and Oasis Media Group.

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