LOS ANGELES, May 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Emmy(R) and Grammy(R) Award winner Harry Connick, Jr. ("Will & Grace," "Hope Floats") and Academy Award(R)-winning actress Renee Zellweger ("Cold Mountain," "Chicago") join forces on the new Lifetime Original Movie "Living Proof," the moving true story of Dr. Denny Slamon, the UCLA doctor who developed the life saving breast cancer drug, Herceptin 2, and his relentless battle to keep the drug trials afloat and save the lives of thousands of women. Connick stars in the film, while Zellweger reteams with acclaimed film and television producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron ("A Raisin in the Sun," "Hairspray," "Chicago," "Life with Judy Garland: Me & My Shadows") to executive produce the Sony Pictures Television project. Written and also executive produced by Vivienne Radkoff, the movie will be filmed in Connick's hometown of New Orleans. This project also marks Zellweger's first television project and the reunion of Connick and Zellweger who recently completed filming the feature, "Chilled in Miami." "Living Proof" will premiere in October 2008 on Lifetime Television.
In making the announcement, Tanya Lopez, Senior Vice President, Original Movies, Lifetime Networks, said, "This is truly a passion project for all of us at Lifetime. Dr. Slamon is an unsung hero in the fight against breast cancer and no one is better suited to play him than Harry Connick, Jr., who himself is committed to helping others. We are also thrilled to be collaborating with Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, Renee Zellweger and Sony in this thought-provoking film."
"Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have a long and laudable history of bringing important, as well as entertaining, films to the television screen and all of us at Sony Pictures Television are proud to have been partnered with them for many years. We feel privileged to be working with Lifetime on this amazing true story of Dr. Denny Slamon whose tenacity and brilliant accomplishments in discovering Her 2 have saved the lives of so many women," said Helen Verno, executive vice president of movies and miniseries, Sony Pictures Television.
In "Living Proof," Dr. Denny Slamon (Harry Connick, Jr.) is an overworked and under appreciated research doctor at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. Having developed an experimental, yet potentially revolutionary drug called Herceptin 2, Slamon believes he will one day offer a ground-breaking treatment for breast cancer. When the plug is pulled on his research by the drug company, he must rely on the support of philanthropists including Lilly Tartikoff and Ronald Perelman to continue his work testing the drug.
At great cost to his personal life, Dr. Slamon becomes deeply attached to the pioneering women involved in the experiment as part of his research. While battling the delays and corporate red tape, Dr. Slamon loses some patients, but his dedication and work to keep testing Herceptin 2 helps change the course of breast cancer treatment.
Harry Connick, Jr. is a singer, pianist, composer, actor and humanitarian. His career has been highlighted with awards and recognition, including several multi-platinum and gold albums, Grammy(R) and Emmy(R) Awards, plus Tony Award(R) nominations. A native of New Orleans, Connick's first widespread success as a musician came when he contributed to the score of the 1989 film, "When Harry Met Sally." The full scope of Connick's artistry emerged in the 90's with his groundbreaking albums including "We are in Love," "She," "To See You" and "Come by Me."
Connick made his film debut in 1990 in the drama "Memphis Belle." His additional films credit since include "Little Man Tate," "Copycat," "Independence Day," "Hope Floats" with Sandra Bullock, "My Dog Skip," "Life Without Dick," "Bug" and more recently "P.S. I Love You" with Hillary Swank. In 2001, he starred in the ABC television production of "South Pacific." From 2002 through 2006, he had a recurring role on NBC's "Will & Grace" as Grace's husband Leo. In 2006, Connick, starred on Broadway winning critical acclaim and a Tony nomination in "The Pajama Game."
The new millennium brought even more albums and success with album sales over 25 million. His latest album, "Oh, My NOLA," includes the single "All These People," inspired by the suffering Connick witnessed following Hurricane Katrina. Royalties from its sale, as well as the album, benefit the New Orleans Habitat Musicians' Village, single-family homes and duplexes conceived by Connick and his longtime friend and colleague Branford Marsalis.
Renee Zellweger won the Academy Award(R) for Best Supporting Actress in Anthony Minghella's "Cold Mountain" and received Academy Award(R) nominations for her work in "Bridget Jones's Diary" and "Chicago." She recently starred in and executive-produced the feature film, "Miss Potter."
Zellweger's Academy Award(R) for "Cold Mountain" was accompanied by a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role, a Golden Globe(R) Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture, a BAFTA Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role and a Broadcast Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress. In addition to her Academy Award(R) nomination for "Chicago," Zellweger also won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in Lead Role as well as a Golden Globe(R) Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. Additionally, she was nominated for a BAFTA Award for her performance.
Zellweger's additional film credits include "Bee Movie," "Cinderella Man," "Down with Love," "Bridget Jones's Diary" and its sequel, "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason," "Shark Tale," "Jerry Maguire," "Me, Myself & Irene," "Nurse Betty," "One True Thing," "White Oleander," "Dazed and Confused," "Reality Bites," "The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "My Boyfriend's Back." Zellweger can next be seen in "Appaloosa," alongside Viggo Mortensen and Ed Harris, who is also directing.
"Living Proof" is produced by Zadan and Meron's Storyline Entertainment and Sony Pictures Television for Lifetime Television. Renee Zellweger, Neil Meron and Craig Zadan ("Chicago"), and screenwriter Vivienne Radkoff ("Tempted," "The Agency") are the executive producers. Dan Ireland ("Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont," "Passionata") directs from a script written by Vivienne Radkoff ("Tempted," "The Agency").
"Living Proof" premieres during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month as the centerpiece of Lifetime's 14th annual multi-platform Stop Breast Cancer for Life public service and advocacy campaign, which reaches women and families in more than 96 million homes across the country in partnership with the Network's cable affiliates, advertising sponsors and twelve leading nonprofit organizations.
"Living Proof" continues Lifetime's quest to support their Stop Breast Cancer for Life campaign. Other original films that the network has made previously for this commitment include the 2007 movie "Matters of Life & Dating" starring Ricki Lake and the 2006 movie "Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy" starring Sarah Chalke, which was nominated for an Emmy(R) Award in the category of "Outstanding Made for Television Movie."
Sony Pictures Television is one of the television industry's leading content providers. It produces and distributes programming in every genre, including series, telefilms, theatrical releases and family entertainment for network and cable television, as well as first-run and off-network series for syndication. With more than 25 programs on the air, SPT boasts a program slate that includes the top-rated daytime dramas and game shows, landmark off-network series, original animated series and critically acclaimed primetime dramas, comedies and telefilms. SPT also owns one-half of cable channel GSN, and is a partner in FEARnet, the premier horror/thriller website and VOD service. Sony Pictures Television oversees all of Sony Pictures Entertainment's (SPE) domestic digital distribution efforts across all platforms, including the internet and mobile. Sony Pictures Television, advertiser sales, is one of the premiere national advertising sales companies, handling the commercial inventory in SPT syndicated series as well as in all of SPE's digital businesses, for Sony BMG and for iN DEMAND's high-definition channel Mojo and Tennis Channel, and is part owner of national media sales company ITN Networks, Inc. SPT (www.sonypicturestelevision.com) is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company.
Lifetime is the leader in women's television and one of the top-rated basic cable television networks. A diverse, multi-media company, Lifetime is committed to offering the highest quality entertainment and information programming, and advocating a wide range of issues affecting women and their families. Lifetime Television, Lifetime Movie Network, Lifetime Real Women and Lifetime Digital (including myLifetime.com) are part of Lifetime Entertainment Services, a 50/50 joint venture of Hearst Corporation and The Walt Disney Company.
*Photography is available at www.lifetimepress.com
SOURCE Lifetime Television