According to Variety, Paramount Pictures will finance and distribute Freedom Writers, a Richard LaGravenese-directed drama starring Hilary Swank.
The project is based on "The Freedom Writer's Diaries: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them," written by high school teacher Erin Gruwell and her students.
Gruwell was a 23-year-old teacher assigned to a class of kids deemed unteachable and at risk. By using the writings of Anne Frank and "Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Sarajevo," Gruwell was able to teach the kids tolerance. Teacher and class toured Amsterdam and Sarajevo, and each of Gruwell's students graduated high school. Most are attending or have graduated from college.
The project first took root at Universal and more recently at Miramax. It became available when Harvey and Bob Weinstein exited the company. Par stepped up when the material lured Swank.
Swank will exec produce the film with Tracy Durning and will star in it after she completes the Stephen Hopkins-helmed The Reaping at Warner Bros. Swank is currently starring for director Brian De Palma in noir drama The Black Dahlia.