ParamountClassics has finalized its deal with Icon Entertainment to buy rights in NorthAmerica, Latin America and Japan to The Singing Detective, Keith Gordon's film version of DennisPotter's landmark 1986 TV series which world premiered at the Sundance FilmFestival last month,

Negotiations for the film which stars Robert Downey Jr,Mel Gibson and Robin Wright Penn began at the festival, with Paramount Classicsplanning a release in the second half of 2003.

Director Gordon had previously worked with ParamountClassics' co-president Ruth Vitale when she was chief of Fine Line Features andfinanced his Mother Night. "The Singing Detective is an exceptionally visionary film with unique andimpressive performances from Robert, Mel and the entire cast. We aredelighted to be working with our friend Keith, who has created something trulysingular," said Vitale and co-president David Dinerstein in a statement.

The film, whichblends comedy, musical and noir thriller, also stars Jeremy Northam, KatieHolmes, Carla Gugino, Adrien Brody and Alfre Woodard. The screenplay was byPotter before his death.

Downey Jr playsa crime novelist stricken by a chronic skin disease who occupies his hospitaltime recalling his traumatic youth in the 1950s and living out a detectivefantasy in which he is a cynical private eye.

"This filmhas been a passion of ours for ten years. We are extremely happy and proudthat it has been realized so superbly," added Bruce Davey and Mel Gibson,the heads of Icon and producers of the film.

The SingingDetective joins a 2003 lineup for Paramount Classics which also includesMichael Petroni's Till Human Voices Wake Us, Andrei Konchalovsky's House Of Fools, Claude Lelouch's And Now Ladies AndGentlemen, MichaelPolish's Northfork,Patrice Leconte's Man On The Train, Paul McGuigan's The Reckoning and Mike Hodges' I'll Sleep When I'mDead.