The pic centers on an ex-con who returns to his hometown and forms an unlikely bond with a young boy abandoned by his junkie mother. Route One’s Russell Levine is producing, and Sophia Dilley, who brought the project to Route One, will co-produce. Chris Lytton and Guerriero will executive produce.

Actor-director Stevens recently co-helmed Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher And Debbie Reynolds, the HBO documentary that bowed at Cannes last year. He also directed National Geographic’s Before The Flood, which featured Leonardo DiCaprio. He won the Oscar in 2010 for producing the docu The Cove.

“It is rare that one reads a script and right away knows this is a film they have to make,” Stevens aid. “That was my response after reading Palmer. It touched me to the core. I am grateful to Route One and Cheryl for trusting me to direct this incredible project.”

Stevens is repped by CAA and Untitled. Guerriero is with Heroes and Villains Entertainment and Jackoway Tyerman.