Drafthouse Films has picked up North American rights in a deal with Films We Like to the sci-fi pic The Congress which opened the Directors’ Fortnight sidebar last month at Cannes. Ari Folman (Waltz With Bashir) directs the film starring Robin Wright, Jon Hamm, Paul Giamatti and Harvey Keitel. A US theatrical and VOD/digital release is planned for 2014 and Films We Like in Toronto will handle Canadian distribution. Based on legendary science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem’s 1971 novel The Futurological Congress, Folman’s adaptation blends live-action and psychedelic animation as an aging, out-of-work actress (Wright in an unusual role playing an alternate reality version of herself) accepts her final job: preserving her digital image for a future Hollywood. Twenty years later, Wright’s digital double rises to immortal stardom and is invited to take part in “The Congress” as she makes her comeback straight into the world of future fantasy cinema. The deal was negotiated by Tim League and James Emanuel Shapiro on behalf of Drafthouse Films and Brigitte Suárez and Michael Weber of The Match Factory on behalf of the film’s producers.
The steamy film that sold in Sundance under Two Mothers has gotten a release date and a new title. The Aussie-set film will now be called Adore. It stars Naomi Watts and Robin Wright as two lifelong friends, each of whom starts a torrid affair with the son of the other woman. It was acquired at Sundance by the Exclusive Media arm Exclusive Releasing, and it will be given a day-and-date release on September 6. The film’s directed by Coco Before Chanel helmer Anne Fontaine in her English-speaking directorial debut. It was scripted by Christopher Hampton, based on the novel by Nobel Prize for Literature winner Doris Lessing. Xavier Samuel and James Frecheville play the sons.
EXCLUSIVE: In another late night Sundance Film Festival deal, Exclusive Media-owned Exclusive Releasing is closing a deal for U.S. rights to Two Mothers, the Anne Fontaine-directed drama that premiered last Friday at the Eccles Theatre. Deal is a low seven figure advance and includes a few other territories, but most of the foreign territories belong to Gaumont, which funded the film. Pic is described as a gripping tale of love, lust and the power of friendships of two lifelong female friends who fall in love with each other’s sons. Naomi Watts and Robin Wright play the moms, and Xavier Samuel and James Frecheville also star. Oscar-winning screenwriter Christopher Hampton penned the adaptation of Doris Lessing’s short story.
The deals calls for a traditional theatrical release through Exclusive Releasing, the distribution company that Exclusive co-chairmen Guy East and Nigel Sinclair launched last September, headed by Scott Pascucci and Matt Brodlie. There is a significant P&A and screen commitment for what will shape up as a specialized film release in the summer. Numerous bidders circled the film, some proposing a multi-platform strategy, but Exclusive Media’s Exclusive Releasing was most aggressive for its new release enterprise. CAA brokered the deal with Brodlie and Gaumont International chief Cécile Gaget.
Animal Kingdom star Ben Mendelsohn has joined the cast of Coco Before Chanel helmer Anne Fontaine’s English-language directorial debut. Naomi Watts and Robin Wright topline the drama which has been going by the name The Grandmothers, but which is now expected to get a title change. Gaumont’s Cécile Gaget also confirms to me that Sophie Lowe of Aussie TV hit The Slap and veteran actor Gary Sweet have boarded the picture with Animal Kingdom co-star James Frecheville and Twilight: Eclipse‘s Xavier Samuel.
Oren Moverman’s corrupt LA cop drama Rampart stars Woody Harrelson, Sigourney Weaver, Robin Wright, Ned Beatty, Ben Foster, Ice Cube, Anne Heche and Cynthia Nixon. Millennium Entertainment plans to launch Best Actor, Director and Screenplay campaigns for Harrelson and Moverman.
Toronto: Woody Harrelson Enters Oscar Race With Millennium’s $2 Million Deal For Cop Corruption Drama ‘Rampart’
EXCLUSIVE: Millennium Entertainment is putting Woody Harrelson into the Best Actor Oscar race this year, closing a $2 million U.S. rights acquisition of Rampart. That is the Oren Moverman-directed police corruption drama that Moverman wrote with L.A. Confidential author James Ellroy. The plan is to open in 20 cities and launch campaigns for Harrelson and for Moverman for Best Director and Screenplay. A deal for Canadian rights is expected to close shortly. Millennium Entertainment CEO Bill Lee made the deal, and Millennium Films’ Mark Gill will be a consultant on this and get to roll up his sleeves and wage an awards-season campaign for Harrelson, who drew raves at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival for his portrayal of a corrupt cop in a drama that also stars Sigourney Weaver, Robin Wright, Ned Beatty, Ben Foster, Ice Cube, Anne Heche and Cynthia Nixon. The 1990s Los Angeles police family drama explores the dark soul and misadventures of an LAPD cop whose past finally catches up with him in a department-wide corruption scandal.
EXCLUSIVE: Robin Wright is negotiating to star in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the David Fincher-directed adaptation of the Stieg Larsson novel for Sony Pictures Entertainment. She is in talks to play Erika Berger, the publisher of crusading finance magazine Millennium, and the occasional lover of journalist Mikael Blomkvist (to be played by Daniel Craig). The film is casting up quickly, even as Fincher and producer Scott Rudin take their time searching for the right young actress to play the computer hacker heroine Lisbeth Salander. Berger figures in Larsson’s sequel books The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest, and Wright is negotiating a deal that includes options for both.