Fox Searchlight Pictures has acquired worldwide rights to Al Pacino's second directorial effort Chinese Coffee which stars Pacino, Jerry Orbach, Susan Floyd and Ellen McElduff. The company also had worldwide rights to Pacino's Looking For Richard - a semi-documentary study of Shakespeare's Richard III - which grossed $1.4m in 1996/7.

The film, written by Ira Lewis, follows a winter's night conversation between a struggling Greenwich Village writer and his mentor (Pacino and Orbach). Throughout the conversation the film flashes back to the women and the events which shaped their fates. Pacino made the film over the course of three years, in between acting commitments such as Any Given Sunday and The Insider.

"I was fascinated by Chinese Coffee, and from the first time I read it, I wanted to do it," explained Pacino in a statement. "I felt a strong attachment to Chinese Coffee. I liked the world it was set in; I liked the characters and what they went through; I liked the statement it made. Also, I liked Chinese coffee."

Searchlight, which is now headed by president Peter Rice, president of marketing Nancy Utley and president of distribution Stephen A Gilula, plans to release the film in 2001 domestically. Chinese Coffee was produced by New York-based Chal Productions in association with The Shooting Gallery. Producer is Michael Hadge. Executive producer is Anne D'Amato. The film was brought into Searchlight by Tony Safford, senior vice president of acquisition, who supported the project through its early stages of post-production.

The deal was brokered by Creative Artists Agency (CAA).