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Neil Burger to Direct Dennis Lehane’s ANIMAL RESCUE Movie
I was psyched when Chernin Entertainment announced they’re producing a film based on the Dennis Lehane short story, “Animal Rescue.” Boston Noir from Akashic Books, one of my favorite short-story collection series, served as this gritty tearjerker’s cradle. From humble beginnings, this sleeper hit sprinted for critical stardom.
Now Animal Rescue, the movie, is going to be helmed by a master of the sleeper hit, Neil Burger.
Let’s talk about Burger’s record of quietly raking in the cash. After all, I don’t need to sell you on Dennis Lehane’s bona fides. He’s close to the throne of the crime fiction pantheon, the force behind Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, Shutter Island, and a stack of other books that have yet to see film but that don’t lack in gold stars.
Lehane is just about as money as it gets in terms of solid writing talent and solid profit.
Burger makes for a great match. This is the guy who took Limitless and The Illusionist way, way into the black in their studios’ ledgers. He brings in films that keep the budgets low while delivering quality that ensures high profit.
Don’t get me wrong – he’s not known for box office blowouts. He’s the batter you bring on deck when you want a base hit. He shoots low, hits the middle, and so avoids that Hollywood bogeyman, a flop, as Variety’s recap of his career shows.
So what does this mean for a creative fit on Animal Rescue? Neil Burger matches the low-key style of the work. It’s a story about a thug, a pit bull and redemption – you don’t need to be flipping wigs with this one, nor do you need an avant garde stylist. You just need someone who can evoke the tone of the film and get out of the way of what’s a solid story.