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Avi Lerner Acquires The Worldwide Rights To Barry Levinson’s Film Version Of Phillip Roth’s ‘The Humbling’

Lerner’s independent production company Millennium Films will be distributing the movie, starring Al Pacino, when it is released in the autumn.

37th AFI Life Achievement Award - Audience And Backstage

Avi Lerner / Getty

Avi Lerner’s Millenium Films recently announced that they have acquired the worldwide distribution rights for “The Humbling” based on the novel of the same name that was written by the legendary author Phillip Roth in 2009.

Behind the screenplay and direction of  “The Humbling”  is Baltimore Pictures owned by Barry Levinson, who won an Oscar for Best Director in 1989 for his work on Rain Man as well as being a six-time nominee.

The Humbling recounts the story of an actor who’s getting past his  peak,  who finds himself involved in an affair with a woman who is not only half his age but is also a lesbian.  The story is set  at a secluded house deep in the countryside of Conneticut.

Al Pacino plays the part of the veteran actor while Greta Gerwig plays the woman he’s having an affair with. The make up artists will have their work cut out making Pacino look twice as old as Ms Gerwig, with  the age gap being considerably larger, with Al Pacino now approaching 74 and his femme fatale just past her 30th birthday.

Levinson has succeeded in assembling  a formidable backup cast, including screen veterans Dianne Wiest and Charles Grodin as well as Mandy Patinkin, Kyra Sedgewick, Dan Hedaya, Nina Arianda and Billy Porter.

An exact release date for The Humbling is yet to be announced, but it is expected to be sometime in the autumn..

al-pacino-barry-levinson-reteaming-for-philip-roth-humbling

                        Al Pacino                                                                                                 Barry Levinson

Barry Levinson is a six-time Oscar nominee who won Best Director in 1989 for his work on Rain Man.

Levinson began his career in the entertainment industry as a screenwriter, initially in television working on such shows as The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine and The Carol Burnett Show.

By the mid-70s Levinson’s  career as  a screenwriter began to expand to the big screen working with Mel Brooks on such classic comedies as comedies Silent Movie, released in 1976 and High Anxiety released the following year. In 1979 Barry Levinson displays his versatility as a screenwriter earning  a joint Oscar nomination with his then-wife Valerie Curtin for “And Justice for All”.

During the early eighties Levinson began to also direct movies director with first, Diner released in 1982, earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay.

Diner was the first of a series of films released by Barry Levinson relating to the city of Baltimore where he grew up. Diner was followed by Tin Men in 1987 which starred   Richard Dreyfuss and Danny DeVito, and the classic saga Avalon telling the story of immigrant Jewish families  which received tremendous critical acclaim but achieved the early little box office success

Levinson’s  biggest hit, both critically and financially, was Rain Man which was released in 1988, starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, with Levinson also appearing in a cameo role. Rain Man  won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Other well-received Levinson movies over his long career include Good Morning, Vietnam,  and Toys both of them starting Robin Williams, the critically acclaimed Bugsy featuring Warren Beatty, and Sleepers, where once again Dustin Hoffman to the leading role, giddily backed up by Brad Pitt and Kevin Bacon,

 

Philip Roth is one of the most highly rated writers of his generation, with his books have twice been recipients of the National Book Award, as well as twice the National Book Critics Circle award, and winning a Pulitzer Prize for his 1997 novel, American Pastoral. In 2001, Roth was awarded the inaugural Franz Kafka Prize.

Roth’s  writing talents first captured the public’s attention in the late 1950s with the release of Goodbye, Columbus, a satirical portrait of American-Jewish life of that time.

Goodbye, Columbus set the benchmark for Roth’s fiction, which traditionally set in the city of Newark, New Jersey, and inevitably touched upon aspects of American and particularly Jewish behavioral patterns. Possibly Roth’s  best-known work is the highly controversial “Portnoy’s Complaint”, best described as ahead of its time through its often explicit detailing of the neurotic adventurers “a lust-ridden, mother-addicted young Jewish teenager growing up in the sixties.

 

Avi Lerner was born and raised  in Haifa, Israel. After his army service, Lerner began his career in the film industry in Tel Aviv. After a few years, Avi pursued his career to  South Africa, where he was involved in the  production of  several locally based films as well as succeeding to build up  a chain of movie theaters. However the call of LaLa Lnd was to prove too powerful, and Avi Lerner moved there  in the early nineties, to take up the role as  President of Global Pictures, an  independent production/distribution company,

After a few years Lerner left Global to found his own production companies, Nu Image and Millennium Films in partnership with Danny Dimbort and Trevor Short with both companies having a reputation for producing low budget action films with Rambo undoubtedly being the most successful and well known.

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