Jennifer Aniston, Alicia Keys, Demi Moore and Film Independent Spirit Award-winner Patty Jenkins (Monster) have been signed to direct the Lifetime Original Movie Project Five, an anthology of five short films exploring the impact of breast cancer on people's lives. Aniston, Marta Kauffman (Friends), Paula Wagner (The Last Samurai, Mission: Impossible), Kristin Hahn (The Departed, The Switch), Kevin Chinoy (Greg the Bunny, Warren the Ape) and Francesca Silvestri (Greg the Bunny, Warren the Ape) will executive produce the Sony Pictures Television production, Project Five, reuniting Aniston and Kauffman for the first time since Friends. The announcement was made today by Nancy Dubuc, President and General Manager of Lifetime Networks, an industry leader in raising awareness about breast cancer.
Through its deeply interconnected story arc developed by Kauffman, Project Five will use humor and drama to focus on the effect that breast cancer and its diagnosis have on relationships and the way women perceive themselves, while searching for strength, comfort, medical breakthroughs and, ultimately, a cure.
Under Kauffman's supervision, writers Stephen Godshaux (Spin City, Dead Like Me), Jill Gordon (Cupid, My So-Called Life), Howard Morris (Women are Crazy, Men are Stupid), Deirdre O'Connor (The Electric Company) and Wendy West (Dexter, The Closer) have written a film included in Project Five, which will be produced by Sony Pictures Television, Echo Films and Chestnut Ridge Productions. The film's fifth director will be announced in the coming weeks.
"Our hope with Project Five is to entertain, inform and inspire dialogue, research and prevention. Otherwise, our goals are small," said Aniston. "We want these films to move people and empower those affected by breast cancer to stand tall through this challenge, which impacts ALL of our lives, no matter who we are."
"I'm a big fan of this amazing group of powerful and creative women, and we are thrilled to be working with them on Project Five," said Dubuc. "It's an awesome feeling to be able to give them such a strong platform to do what they do best - entertain and tell great stories - so that we all educate viewers about breast cancer through these five films of courage, love and hope."
"We are proud to be partnering with this amazing creative team on a project of such importance and impact for women," said Helen Verno, executive vice president of movies and miniseries, Sony Pictures Television.
Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of deaths among women, affecting one in every eight females, with one in 35 of those women often dying from the disease. While breast cancer death rates are going down - likely a result of early detection - it's estimated that nearly 200,000 new cases are diagnosed annually, with 40,000 deaths attributed to the disease each year. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among African American women, who are more likely to die from the disease than other ethnicities due to later detection and delayed treatment. Among Hispanic women, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death. There are currently 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.
Long at the forefront in the ongoing battle to fight breast cancer for more than 17 years, Lifetime's Stop Breast Cancer for Life initiative has been dedicated to offering women the most up-to-date, comprehensive information about the disease. Reaching women and families across the country in partnership with its cable affiliates, advertising sponsors and leading non-profit organizations, Lifetime has collected more than 25 million petition signatures to urge Congress to pass the bipartisan Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act, which would end "drive-through mastectomies," the practice where women are sometimes forced to leave the hospital just hours after invasive breast surgery. Lifetime and its audience are now urging the health insurance industry to allow women to stay in the hospital up to 48 hours after a mastectomy as a standard of care.