Showtime preps movie on scandal

Showtime, which found itself home to the controversial telefilm “The Reagans” last year, is taking on another explosive subject: the pedophilia scandal in the Catholic Church.

The premium cable channel has greenlit an original film called “Our Fathers,” based on David France’s book of the same title. Casting is under way, and pre-production on the film is scheduled to begin in April.

France’s book, subtitled “The Secret Life of the Catholic Church in an Age of Scandal,” relies on accounts of victims and others involved to give a portrait of how the scandal was allowed to grow within the church over the course of a half-century. France, a senior editor at Newsweek, will serve as a consultant on the movie.

Showtime’s dramatization of the book will open in 2002, when the Boston Globe broke open the scandal that has since spread to dioceses across the country. Robert Greenblatt, president of Showtime Entertainment, says all the stories in the movie will be fact-based, but the names of victims have been changed.

“We have no intention of making this movie exploitative,” Greenblatt says. “But when I read France’s book, I was compelled to make this movie because the majority of the public has no idea how widespread or complex this issue is or how faithful Catholics were deceived in such epic proportions.”

Thomas Michael Donnelly (“A Soldier’s Sweetheart,” “Talent for the Game”) is adapting France’s book. Dan Curtis, an Emmy winner for “War and Remembrance,” will direct and executive produce with David Kennedy.

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Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

AP-NY-02-26-04 1713EST

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