SOURCE: Screenwriter Robert Congdon

January 12, 2011 21:06 ET

Congdon Has Firm Grip on "The Handshake"

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - January 12, 2011) - First time writer and former miner, Robert Congdon, is underway with a ruthless and cunning chase of wit and action with "The Handshake." Based on historical events, the story delves into the depths of human nature -- greed, avarice and duplicity percolating just below the surface -- when a rich mineral deposit is discovered during a mining exploration.

Forty-year veteran casting director Gerald Wolff says, "This is one of the most intriguing and thoughtful westerns I've ever read, and with the recent resurgence of authentic westerns such as 'True Grit' and '3:10 To Yuma' I'm so excited to be involved with this project."

Letters of interest have been received from Sam Elliott ("Tombstone") and Robert Wagner ("Austin Powers" and "It Takes A Thief"), and offers are currently under consideration by other well-known A-list actors. The producers are also in talks with Eric Balfour ("Skyline" and "Conviction"), newcomer Johnny Marlow is attached, and a score set by Best Music, Original Score Academy Award Winner Dave Grusin ("Milagro Beanfield War"). The script is currently out to several name directors with Congdon also producing the film.

Executive Producer David Marlow likens the project to Wall Street set in 1872 saying, "This is a carefully planned and orchestrated swindle, it's not about cowboys falling off horses. It has relevance in today's world as well."

"The Handshake" mixes the cleverness of "The Sting" with the adventure of "Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid" -- an authentic Western that conveys the corruption of greed and the true power of humility.

The film is to be shot in New Mexico under the watchful eye of art director Tino Ocheltree ("Tombstone," "The Quick and the Dead," "Lonesome Dove"). Ocheltree says, "Purely from an art director's standpoint, designing the opulence of 1870s San Francisco and the grittiness of the western mining towns, is a spectacular challenge, but couple that with the stellar script, with its secret schemes and feints... I just fell in love with the story."

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