Netflix and the Barack and Michelle Obama-backed production company Higher Ground have acquired the Michael Keaton film Worth, based on the struggles of attorney and adjudicator Kenneth Feinberg in awarding funds from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. Directed by Sara Colangelo, from a script from Max Borenstein (Godzilla) that was Black List-selected way back in 2008, the film stars Keaton as Feinberg, and is adapted from his memoir What Is Life Worth?. It’s set to premiere on Netflix in September, just in time for the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.
Feinberg was a man placed into a rather impossible situation, made the “special master” of the 9/11 compensation fund, “tasked by Congress to allocate financial rewards to the victims of the tragedy.” It was his job to determine how much various families affected by the tragedy ought to receive in terms of payment from the fund, which understandably made him some bitter enemies along the way. Feinberg, however, was able to change the hearts and minds of some of his most vocal detractors over time.
Keaton stars in the film alongside Stanley Tucci, Tate Donovan, Amy Ryan, Laura Benanti and Talia Balsam. Worth first screened at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, just before the spread of the pandemic, to mostly positive reviews. Now, Netflix will give the film a true release in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Australia, the UK, France and Turkey.
The Obamas, meanwhile, have several other projects in the work at Netflix via Higher Ground, including Exit West starring Riz Ahmed, and Tenzing, about Tenzing Norgay, one of the first two men to reach the summit of Mount Everest.