Hackford Directing Mirren and Pesci in Ranch

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Variety says Taylor Hackford (Ray) will direct Helen Mirren and Joe Pesci in Love Ranch, a drama about a couple who opened the first legal brothel in Nevada and the violence that resulted when their relationship was tested by infidelity.

Capitol Films will fully finance. Filming begins in late January in Albuquerque, N.M., and Hackford will look for a domestic distributor after the movie is complete.

Mark Jacobson, whose New York magazine article formed the basis for American Gangster, wrote the Love Ranch screenplay. Hackford, Lou DiBella, Capitol’s David Bergstein and Marty Katz will produce.

The drama is inspired by the story of Joe and Sally Conforte, proprietors of the Mustang Ranch, the first legalized house of prostitution in Nevada. Boxer Oscar Bonavena was gunned down at the ranch in 1976, suspected of having an affair with the madam Sally.

The film will reteam the director with Mirren, his wife, for the first time since they did 1985’s White Nights.