Danish director Thomas Vinterberg, whose The Hunt was in the Cannes competition last year, will make his studio-produced English-language helming debut with the adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s 1874 novel, Far From The Madding Crowd. The UK’s DNA Films is producing with Fox Searchlight, which confirms that Carey Mulligan and Matthias Schoenaerts will star in the new take. They’ll play Bathsheba Everdine and Gabriel Oak in the story of the ill-fated passions of a willful young woman and her three suitors. Production is scheduled for this fall in the UK with Searchlight marketing and distributing for the world. A previous film version was directed by John Schlesinger in 1967 and starred Julie Christie, Terence Stamp, Peter Finch and Alan Bates (as Oak). Mulligan is in Cannes this week in support of The Great Gatsby and Inside Llewyn Davis. Schoenaerts was in Cannes last year with Rust And Bone and is here now with Blood Ties. They are both repped by CAA; Vinterberg is repped by ICM Partners.
UPDATE: SUNDANCE DEAL PRECEDENT PART 2 – Fox Searchlight Confirms ‘The Way, Way Back’ Deal For Nearly $10 Million
UPDATE, 10:19 AM: Fox Searchlight confirms that it has closed the deal on The Way, Way Back, saying it’s for just under $10 million. Since I was up all night writing cross-eyed to break the story hours ago, I would rather not repeat myself, so here is the early-morning story again, and I’ll put the official press release below my original story break when it arrives (it’s there now).
EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, 4:09 AM: The Sundance Film Festival has emerged as one of the craziest for deal making in recent memory. After a wild all-night negotiating session following a raucous premiere screening yesterday of The Way, Way Back, Fox Searchlight has emerged as the frontrunner to acquire domestic rights and several other territories. The price tag is around $10 million minimum guarantee, with a P&A and theatrical commitment.
Searchlight was among bidding distributors that include Lionsgate, FilmDistrict, Paramount Pictures, and Warner Bros. Buyers began mobilizing right after the film’s Monday 3:30 PM first screening at Eccles Theatre, and numerous sources have been telling me all night that this has been one of the most spirited auctions in recent Sundance memory.
By the time the deal gets closed this morning, it should also be just about the richest deal ever made at the festival, as the sale of additional foreign territories will raise the value of the deal even higher. The rabid pace of deal making and the high numbers are a surprise to me, because both buyers and sellers expected the films to go in low upfront deals. Then, the buyers started discovering an exceptional crop of films programmed by Sundance.
The Fox Searchlight thriller The East, directed by Zal Batmanglij and co-written by Batmanglij and Brit Marling, who also stars, debuted yesterday at Sundance. The film centers on a mysterious anarchist collective (called The East) and an ex-FBI agent (Marling) who goes undercover and dedicates herself to taking it …
Sundance: Is ‘Fruitvale’ This Year’s ‘Beasts Of The Southern Wild’? 7-Figure Auction To Be Decided Monday Morning
EXCLUSIVE: Fruitvale, the Ryan Coogler-directed drama about the last day in the life of 22-year-old Oscar Grant before he was killed in a case that galvanized protests against police brutality in Oakland, is at the center of a multi-distributor auction that will be wrapped up first thing Monday morning at Sundance. I’m hearing that the deal will be worth just north of a $2 million minimum guarantee with commitments for screen commitments and a theatrical release, with P&A. The suitors in the mix at this late hour are led by The Weinstein Company and Fox Searchlight, with Paramount Pictures and Focus Features in the mix.
“Good Evening,” AFI president and CEO Bob Gazzale said as he welcomed guests to AFI Fest 2012 with the famous salutation of Alfred Hitchcock. And it did indeed turn out to be a very good evening for both AFI and their opening-night film, Hitchcock. The last of the major fall film festivals, AFI Fest can boast just like other recent fests (Venice, Telluride, Toronto, New York) that it has put another major Oscar contender into play in the ever-increasing list of potential nominees.
With the world premiere of Hitchcock at the Chinese theatre Fox Searchlight has a solid contender in several acting categories along with some below-the-line contests and, depending how things pan out, even Best Picture. Time will tell on that: It’s never easy for showbiz stories to make the Best Picture cut because industry voters don’t always take movies about their own as seriously as loftier subjects, but on the heels of last year’s Best Pic, The Artist maybe that’s changing. And what Hitchcock really is at its core is a remarkable love story. ”Just wait until you see this one,” a smiling and confident 20th Century Fox chairman Jim Gianopulos told me as he grabbed some popcorn before the film rolled. He had reason to be happy.