This marks the 12th film from Chinese director Zhang Yimou to be distributed in the U.S. by Sony Pictures Classics. The negotiations were one of the worst-kept secrets at the Berlin Film Festival. The studio made it official today, a day after Zhang signed on to helm Universal’s adaptation of the Robert Ludlum novel The Parsifal Mosaic. Here’s the release:
NEW YORK (February 18, 2014) – Sony Pictures Classics announced today that they have acquired all rights in North America, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand to Zhang Yimou’s COMING HOME starring Gong Li. The film, currently in post-production, is produced by Bill Kong and LeVision Pictures’ Zhang Zhao. Lava Bear Films’ David Linde executive produced.
Inspired by Yan Geling’s “THE CRIMINAL LU YANSHI with a screenplay written by Jingshi Zou, COMING HOME is a romance drama chronicling the journey of a Chinese dissident (Chen Daoming) from the 1920′s to the 1990′s.
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Frank Pavich’s Jodorowsky’s Dune debuted in the Directors’ Fortnight sidebar in Cannes last year before being acquired by Sony Pictures Classics and playing the fall fest circuit. A trailer has dropped for the documentary about veteran Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky‘s ill-fated attempt to bring Frank … Read More »
UPDATE, THURSDAY AM: As the Berlin Film Festival kicks off today, Sony Pictures Classics has confirmed its acquisition of all U.S. and Latin American rights to competition title, Aloft. This is Milk Of … Read More »
“There are so many people doing such great work out there,” said The Invisible Woman costume designer Michael O’Connor, who is Oscar-nominated for Best Achievement in Costume Design. O’Connor — who worked on the period drama about the life of Charles Dickens — was one of the most gracious people I’ve ever interviewed, handing out credit to his staff, his director Ralph Fiennes and even to his peers on other films. “If you look at a film like Nebraska, those clothes say everything about those people,” O’Connor said. “It’s good, intelligent work.” His appreciation and passion for the work is evident in every detail of the clothing he speaks of. He’s also fascinated with the historical research that comes into play prior to the actual designs and selection of fabrics. “The looking into it is the fun part,” he said. “There are subtleties that change throughout the years, and I love monitoring and watching that stuff. You know, the men started wearing suits at this time in the 1850s. The women’s bonnets changed shape as the shape of the dresses changed. The bonnets became shorter, more rounded and less of the face is hidden. They were made with a clever craft that no one makes these days anymore. The corners, the pockets for the watches, the overall attention to detail was there always.”
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He said some of his inspiration came from the French neo-classical painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, whose work is displayed in the Louvre. He and Fiennes — who portrayed Dickens with a contagious enthusiasm — spent a lot of time thinking about what a particular character would weare. Felicity Jones, for instance, played Dickens’ very young and demur mistress. “We had discussions like, ‘Would her character really wear this kind of dress?’ Even little, tiny rickrack mossy, mustard-colored braids on Felicity’s dress, we discussed because we wanted to make sure the costume wasn’t speaking beyond the character. You didn’t want her to gleam out even though she was the lead actress, because the camera is going to find her anyway, so (in a scene with her family) you put her sisters around her in pink.” His greatest find was an original, mint condition waist coat from the period with green vine leaves and grapes on it against black that Fiennes wore in one scene. O’Connor said his director embraced the period completely because he wanted it to be a truthful film. “When the actors are wearing these clothes, it makes them feel different,” he said. Which is the same kind of thinking behind the costuming of one of the greatest films of all time, Gone with the Wind.
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Sony Pictures Classics confirmed that it has acquired distrib rights to Infinitely Polar Bear, starring Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana, the film that marks the directorial debut of Maya Forbes (who also scripted the autobiographical story). The film, set in the 1970s, follows an eccentric father who tries to win back his wife by taking responsibility for their two young, hard-to-handle daughters. Sony will distribute the picture in North America, Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Russia. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Read More »
UPDATE, 2:58 PM: Sony Pictures Classics has confirmed Deadline’s report from yesterday, acquiring Ira Sachs’ Sundance pic Love Is Strange for North America, Germany and Scandinavia. Read the release below after the original story.
PREVIOUS, THURSDAY AM: Sony Pictures Classics is acquiring Love Is Strange, the film scripted and directed by Ira Sachs that stars Alfred Molina, John Lithgow, Marisa Tomei, Cheyenne Jackson, Darren Burrows and Charlie Tahan. The timely film is about two longtime gay lovers who finally get married. One of them then gets fired and is unable to pay the rent. The couple must move in, separately, with a nephew and his family in Brooklyn and the two gay cops next door. The film got a strong response when it premiered last Saturday at the Eccles Theater. The deal is being made by WME Global. The film also got a French distribution deal with Pretty Pictures right after its premiere. SPC previously acquired the opening-night film Whiplash, and then the comedy Land Ho!
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Ritesh Batra’s debut feature The Lunchbox recently screened in the Spotlight section of Sundance. It earlier played Toronto, Telluride and the AFI Fest. But the film first came to international attention when it charmed Cannes Critics’ Week audiences. That’s when Sony Pictures … Read More »
Sony Pictures Classics has released a new action-packed trailer for Gareth Evans‘ martial arts sequel The Raid 2 ahead of its Sundance bow tonight. This is a hot ticket in Park City where the first Raid film screened after making a splashy debut at Toronto in 2011. Iko Uwais reprises his role as Rama, the Jakarta cop who battled his way through a tenement filled with criminals in the first pic only to go undercover in the sequel to uncover the corrupt baddies at the top of the food chain. Arifin Putra, Tio Pakusadewo, Oka Antara, and Julie Estelle join the fray in The Raid 2 which also sees the return of Raid actor/stunt choreographer Yayan Ruhian. SPC releases The Raid 2 on March 28 but they’re not the only studio banking on the Raid team. Yesterday at Sundance RADiUS-TWC pre-bought North American rights to Evans’ next project, The Night Takes Us, to be directed by Timo Tjahjanto (Killers) and produced by Evans with original Raid cast members starring. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The first major deal at the Sundance Film Festival is nearly done, with Sony Pictures Classics close to closing a deal for Whiplash that is in the vicinity of $2.5 million for North America, Germany and Australia. This was the festival’s opening night film. It stars Miles Teller as a school drummer with potential who strives for perfection under the tutelage of a ruthless band conductor, played by J.K. Simmons. Writer/director Damien Chazelle originated Whiplash as a prize winning short at last year’s Sundance and came back with a feature length film this time. Austin Stowell also starred.
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The film played through the roof, and got stellar reviews after its Thursday night bow. Yesterday, the festival was buzzing about the film, and word around was that distributors including Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate and A24 were kicking the tires. But it was SPC partners Michael Barker and Tom Bernard that swooped in to close the deal. The auction has been going on from Friday night through early Saturday. A humorous break in the action came when a Farmers Insurance commercial came on (the TV was playing in the background) featuring the insurance company’s spokesman — Simmons. Will provide more details when I get them. Most of the film’s foreign rights sold to Sony, so there is symmetry to this deal. WME Global repped the film. Read More »
Jim Jarmusch‘s vampire tale Only Lovers Left Alive premiered in Cannes last year where Sony Pictures Classics acquired it. The film then went on to berths in Toronto and the New York Film Festival. Now, it’s a Spotlight title in Sundance with … Read More »
Maybe Sony Classics‘ Tom Bernard and Michael Barker have something cooking here with Woody Allen huh? The distributor just announced it has landed North American rights to like the bazillionth Allen-directed film in a row, the South of France in the … Read More »
Sony Pictures Classics acquired North American rights to The Notebook, Hungary’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film. Janos Szasz directed the pic and Intuit Pictures produced with Hunnia Filmstudio, Amour Fou and Dolce Vita Films. The film, adapted from … Read More »
The martial arts actioner will bow in the U.S. on March 28, Sony Pictures Classics and Stage 6 Films announced today. Slated to world premiere at the upcoming Sundance Film Fest, the Indonesian action sequel picks up where the … Read More »
Sony Pictures Classics picked up the film starring and directed by Ralph Fiennes at Berlin in February. He plays Charles Dickens in The Invisible Woman, and the title character is Nelly Ternan (Felicity Jones), the young actress Dickens met at the height of his career … Read More »
Sony Pictures Classics and Stage 6 Films have unleashed a teaser for Gareth Evans‘ Indonesian martial arts sequel The Raid 2: Berandal, which picks up hours after the events of the widely praised first film. In the sequel, Jakarta cop Rama (Iko Uwais) heads … Read More »
Sony Pictures Classics and Stage 6 Films will team up on U.S. distribution of martial arts actioner The Raid 2, the companies announced today. Helmer Gareth Evans made a splash with the first Raid pic, the 2011 Indonesian bone-cruncher The Raid: Redemption, which tracked a doomed squad of cops trapped in a concrete tenement filled with armed thugs. Evans returns to write and direct the sequel, which picks up after the events of the first film and follows cop hero Rama (Iko Uwais) undercover as he infiltrates a ruthless Jakarta crime ring.
Sony’s love affair with the Indonesian action franchise began two years ago at Cannes, where Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions snapped up U.S. distribution rights after screening partial footage. Read More »