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Dustin Hoffman calls the shots

Arthur J Pais

Oscar-winner Dustin Hoffman turns director with Personal Injuries, the 1999 international bestseller from Scott Turow. Dustin Hoffman

The film, which will also stars Hoffman, is expected to go into production early next year.

Produced by Hyde Park Entertainment, partnered by Ashok Amritraj and David Hoberman, the film is expected to cost about $60 million. The firm, which is about 15 months old, has produced four films of which Bandits, the $90 million comic adventure could be the highest grossing film. The Bruce Willis starrer is expected to end its American run with a so-so $50 million.

Personal Injuries could be made for Walt Disney Studios, the trade publication Variety said last week.

"Dustin has been looking around for an intriguing story material for quite some time," Amritraj says. He pointed out that many critics consider Personal Injuries the best work by Turow.

The story revolves around Robbie Feaver, a charismatic and highly successful personal injury lawyer, who has a way with ladies. His beautiful wife, who he loves very much, suffers from a fatal disease. He also manages a clandestine bank account to bribe judges who decide his cases.

Feaver is caught by FBI agents, and, in exchange for leniency, he agrees to 'wear a wire' as he continues to bribe the judges.

The FBI agent assigned to supervise him goes by the alias of Evon Miller. She is loner who spurns Feaver's hits.

Scot Turow Soon we come to know that she holds secrets of her own -- and inevitably her problems mesh with those of Feaver.

"Turow has written many wonderful books including Presumed Innocent," Amritraj says. "But this work (Personal Injuries) is far more gripping than his other books."

Turow's reputation has steadily grown since his first book came out more than 15 years ago.

"Of all the lawyers-storytellers who have clambered onto the bestseller lists in recent years, Scott Turow is the champ," wrote The Washington Post two years ago.

Kirkus Reviews says, "A revelation -- a subtle, densely textured legal thriller stuffed with every kind of surprise except the ones you expect."

Amritraj believes just the way Presumed Innocent brought new fans to its star Harrison Ford and boosted his popularity, Personal Injuries too is expected to boost Hoffman's career.

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