THINKFilm has acquired all North American rights to Paul Schrader’s The Walker, it was announced by the company’s Head of US Theatrical, Mark Urman. The film boasts an ensemble cast that includes Woody Harrelson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily Tomlin, Lauren Bacall, Willem Dafoe, Ned Beatty, Moritz Bleibtreu, and Mary Beth Hurt, and was directed by Schrader from his own original screenplay. The Walker had its world premiere out of competition at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, where Schrader headed the jury.
THINKFilm will release it in late 2007 to qualify for Academy Award consideration.
A contemporary drama set in Washington, D.C., The Walker centers around Carter Page (Harrelson), a well-heeled and popular socialite who serves as confidant, companion, and card partner to some of the capitol’s leading ladies. These pampered women are married to the most powerful men in America, and when their husbands are too busy running the country to attend to their wives, they turn to their “gay best friend,” Carter, for warmth, wit, and wisdom. Carter’s loyalty is tested when his dearest friend (Scott Thomas) finds herself on the brink of a scandal that could destroy her reputation and her husband’s career. Offering to cover for her, Carter suppresses incriminating evidence, only to find himself the chief suspect in a criminal investigation. Suddenly, this well-connected man-about-town is a pariah, hounded by the police and forced to find the true culprit and clear his name. More importantly, he must re-examine whether it is important to be accepted by a society based on betrayal, hypocrisy, and corruption.
A tale of moral redemption that takes the form of a mystery-thriller, The Walker is the third part of Schrader’s “lonely man” trilogy that began with American Gigolo (1980) and also includes Light Sleeper (1992). About the acquisition Urman says, “Paul is a true artist and one of America’s only authentic auteurs. ‘The Walker’ is him doing what he does best, and what only he can do. It is classy, bright, and beautifully-acted entertainment, and I am thrilled to have it on THINK’s line-up.”
Schrader says, “I am delighted that THINKFilm will be releasing ‘The Walker’ domestically. I am particularly happy that Mark Urman, who was so instrumental in the making and release of ‘Affliction,’ will oversee U.S. distribution.” This deal represents a reunion for Schrader and Urman, who served as the director’s publicist for nearly a decade, representing such projects as The Comfort of Strangers, Light Sleeper, Witch Hunt, Touch, and Affliction. When Urman left p.r. to become a distributor, he acquired Affliction, which went on to enjoy critical and commercial success and to garner two Academy Award nominations and a Best Supporting Actor win for the late James Coburn. Schrader, whose other credits include such films as Blue Collar, Hardcore, Mishima, Cat People, Patty Hearst, Auto Focus, and the classic screenplays to both Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, among others, is currently filming Adam Resurrected in Eastern Europe.