THINKFilm has swooped on all North American rights to Paul Schrader's thriller The Walker starring Woody Harrelson and Kristin Scott Thomas.

The third part in Schrader's 'lonely man' trilogy following American Gigolo (1980) and Light Sleeper (1992), The Walker stars Harrelson as an escort in Washington DC who covers up for a friend in need and finds himself the target of a criminal investigation.

Lily Tomlin, Lauren Bacall, Willem Dafoe, Ned Beatty, Moritz Bleibtreu and Mary Beth Hurt also star in the film, which received its world premiere out of competition at the Berlin Film Festival.

THINKFilm's head of US Theatrical Mark Urman - who in a former life served as Schrader's publicist for nearly a decade - said the company plans a late 2007 release as an Academy Award qualifying run.

'Paul is a true artist and one of America's only authentic auteurs,' Urman said. 'The Walker is him doing what he does best, and what only he can do. It is classy, bright, and beautifully acted entertainment, and I am thrilled to have it on THINK's line-up.'

'I am delighted that THINKFilm will be releasing The Walker domestically,' Schrader said. 'I am particularly happy that Mark Urman, who was so instrumental in the making and release of Affliction, will oversee US distribution.'

Urman represented such projects as The Comfort Of Strangers, Light Sleeper, Witch Hunt, Touch, and Affliction during his association with the film-maker, and acquired Affliction when he left PR to become a distributor.

Urman and THINKFilm's senior vice president of acquisitions and business affairs Randy Manis negotiated the deal with Cinetic Media.