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Paul Revere movie looks to, um, ride into theaters

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The historical dramas are coming.

This weekend, Robert Redford’s “The Conspirator,” about the trial of accused John Wilkes Booth conspirator Mary Surratt, opens in theaters. It won’t be the last film about American history. The production company behind that movie will next tackle the story of Paul Revere and William Dawes, and the famous ride the pair took before the battles of Lexington and Concord, in a new project called “Midnight Riders.”

Executives at the firm, the American Film Co., say they have bought rights to “Paul Revere’s Ride,” a book from Pulitzer Prize winner David Hackett Fischer, and hired screenwriters Robert Ramsey and Matthew Stone (“Intolerable Cruelty”) to write the script for ‘Midnight Riders.’ The company, whose creative mission involves making movies about U.S. history, is close to settling on a director.

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Principals describe the Revere film as containing a bit more action than ‘The Conspirator,’ whose parries are more of the verbal variety. ‘This is a historically accurate swashbuckler about the spark of the American Revolution, with horses, gunfights, swords and a little bawdiness,’ said American’s Brian Falk.

The movie will concentrate on the espionage elements of the event; while almost any schoolchild can tell you about Revere’s ride, few of us know how he knew what he did, and the challenges he and Dawes faced in obtaining that information. ‘For people who grew up mainly with the [Longfellow] poem, it’s a far more interesting story,’ said the company’s Rob Stone.

Like “The Conspirator,” a courtroom drama that looks to deepen our understanding of Booth’s fatal attack on the 16th president, the Revere film, Falk and Stone say, tells the story you thought you knew. ‘In the same way people believe Booth was the lone gunman, a lot of people believe Revere was the lone rider,’ Stone said. ‘He actually had a lot of help.’

-- Steven Zeitchik

twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT


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