Atlanta Producer Ed Richardson, one of the Founders and Managing Partner of Atlanta Metro Studios, is now in active development on a feature film adaptation of Georgia native Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man Is Hard To Find. Richardson, also the owner of Atlanta based R&R Productions Worldwide, is producing with Mike Sears (A WARRIORS HEART) and David Zander (SPRING BREAKERS).
At the time of her death, the Atlanta Journal observed that Miss O’Connor’s “deep spirituality qualified her to speak with a forcefulness not often matched in American literature.” She was a master of Southern Gothic literature and in the early fifties was known for the shockingly violent nature of her fiction, at the time deemed by many to be “grotesque”. But Richardson notes, “It wasn’t just violence for the sake of violence, and her writings offered salvation for all… even us misfits”. In Miss O’Connor’s own words, “Violence is strangely capable of returning my characters to reality and preparing them to accept their moment of grace.”
“Like countless O’Connor devotees around the world, the power of this story has had an overwhelming impact on my life”, says Producer Ed Richardson. “To say this is a passion project doesn’t touch it. As a Southerner, and as someone who has called Atlanta home for the last 25 years, the development and production of this film is miles beyond a serious undertaking”.
The screenplay for the feature adaptation was written by Benedict Fitzgerald. Mr. Fitzgerald previously adapted Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood for director John Huston, and among many other films, Fitzgerald was also the writer (screenplay) of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, known as the highest grossing independent film of all time. Additionally, Mr. Fitzgerald has a deep connection with the literary source material and its author. His parents, Robert Fitzgerald (translator of Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey) and Sally Fitzgerald (O’Connor biographer) were close friends of Flannery O’Connor. In fact, Ms. O’Connor lived, wrote Wise Blood and occasionally baby sat in the Fitzgerald home while Benedict was growing up in Ridgefield, CT.
“Benedict was always the most organic choice to write the screenplay for A Good Man Is Hard To Find. It was clear the moment we met, and has been reinforced throughout this entire process. Especially considering his family’s close relationship with Miss O’Connor, as well as his personal abiding devotion for her mighty works, it’s an honor to work together to bring this film to a global audience”, adds Richardson.
Flannery O’Connor is widely recognized as one of the most important American writers of the 20th century and as one of the South’s greatest writers. She left an indelible mark on American literature, far transcending the borders of her native South.
“As an Atlantan, I consider myself very fortunate to be just a short drive from Andalusia, the O’Connor family farm in Milledgeville. I have a painting of the farm house hanging over my desk in my office at Atlanta Metro Studios. I hope you’ve been to Andalusia – but if you haven’t – you really must. It truly feels like opening a time capsule and further serves as a very personal window into the life and habits of Miss O’Connor.”
Miss O’Connor’s writings offer deep insight on the fallen nature of mankind through original sin, but redemption through the grace of Jesus Christ. Throughout her writing life, O’Connor won numerous awards, among them grants from the National Institute of Arts and Letters and the Ford Foundation, as well as a fellowship from the Kenyon Review. She was a six (6) time winner of the O. Henry Award for Short Fiction and was posthumously awarded the 1972 National Book Award for Fiction for The Complete Stories, although the award is usually given to a living writer. The judges deemed O’Connor’s work so deserving that an exception was made to honor her lifetime achievement.
In November of 2009 at the 60th National Book Awards ceremony in New York City, Flannery O’Connor was selected as “The Best” of all previous National Book Award for Fiction Award Winners since 1950. Of the 77 previous National Book Award for Fiction winners since 1950, Ms. O’Connor was chosen over finalists including William Faulkner, John Cheever, Eudora Welty, Thomas Pynchon and Ralph Ellison.
Richardson’s production of the film adaptation of A Good Man Is Hard To Find is slated to film on locations throughout Georgia in 2017.