Lanford Beard
July 07, 2011 AT 05:43 PM EDT

Machine Gun Preacher, Gerard Butler’s upcoming foray into serious drama, has been acquired by Relativity Media. Michelle Monaghan, Kathy Baker, and Michael Shannon also star in the film, based on the true story of former drug-dealing criminal Sam Childers (Butler). After finding faith, Childers travels to Sudan and is shocked by the brutality he sees. He becomes a crusader for hundreds of refugee children and brings peace to his own life in the process.

Marc Forster (Finding Neverland, Monster’s Ball) directed and Jason Keller (Relativity’s untitled Snow White project starring Julia Roberts as the evil Queen) wrote the project. Relativity will theatrically market and distribute the film throughout North America in advance of its limited-release opening on Sept. 23.

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