EXCLUSIVE: Sam Riley has joined the cast of the World War II drama. Suite Française also features Michelle Williams, Matthias Schoenaerts and Kristin Scott Thomas with Saul Dibb directing. Riley will play the role of French soldier Benoit in the film based on Irene Nemirovsky’s novel about a young woman in Nazi-occupied France who ends up falling in love with a German officer. Dibb adapted the story with Matt Charman. The Weinstein Company, TF1 DA and eOne have partnered on the project with TWC handling U.S. rights, along with distribution rights in Latin America, Australia, Russia and Germany. Suite Française is scheduled to start shooting in Belgium and Paris later this summer. Riley, who played Joy Division singer Ian Curtis in 2007’s Control, was most recently was seen in Walter Salles-directed On The Road. He will also be starring alongside Angelina Jolie in the upcoming Maleficent as well as in Neil Jordan’s Byzantium. Riley is repped by WME, having signed with them in April. He continues to be repped by Tavistock Wood in the UK.
The Weinstein Company has released its first trailer for Salinger, the Shane Salerno-directed documentary that Harvey Weinstein acquired after he and his team were the only film guys to see the film, the morning of the …
They’ve announced it and it’s in the trades. Deadline broke the story Saturday. Here’s the official word:
The Weinstein Company (TWC) today announced that it has acquired US rights for Number 9 Films CAROL from HanWay Films. Producers Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley simultaneously announced that Academy Award nominee Todd Haynes (I’m Not There, Far From Heaven) has come on-board to direct.
Carol is a love story about pursuit, betrayal and passion that follows the burgeoning relationship between two very different women in 1950s New York. One, a girl in her twenties working in a department store who dreams of a more fulfilling life, and the other, a wife trapped in a loveless, moneyed marriage desperate to break free but fearful of losing her daughter in the process.
Would you pay €1.5 million ($1.94 million) to spend a weekend at Oscar parties? Or €1.8 million to fly to the moon on Virgin Galactic with Leonardo DiCaprio? Someone did — and more. That happened at amFAR’s annual Cinema Against AIDS Cannes Film Festival gala’s very special 20th anniversary Thursday night. Co-hosts Weinstein and Kenneth Cole announced to a roomful of very high rollers that the event, held of the Hotel Du Cap, raised €25 million ($32.3 million), smashing last year’s record total of over €10 million. The ultra-high style party is a two decades long staple of the Cannes festival, and Weinstein told me if it just made a dollar more than the previous year they’d be happy. But these multimillionaires and billionaires obviously came to play this year and really stepped up at the auction that featured numerous stars including jury members Nicole Kidman and Christoph Waltz, along with Jessica Chastain, Jeremy Renner, Rosario Dawson, Heidi Klum, Goldie Hawn, Janet Jackson, Adrien Brody and major fundraiser/auctioneer Sharon Stone.
This turned out to be the first big bidding battle of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which is now winding down. The Weinstein Company won out after sparking to the seven-minute teaser reel shown to buyers during the fest, outbidding others including Focus Features. Now it will join the distributor’s already bursting awards-season slate that includes Sundance winner Fruitvale Station, August: Osage County with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, Long Walk To Freedom with Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela, the Lee Daniels-directed The Butler, Grace Of Monaco with Nicole Kidman, and the Shane Salerno-directed documentary Salinger. Here’s the official release:
CANNES (May 23, 2013) – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today from the 2013 Cannes Film Festival that they are acquiring distribution rights in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Spain to director Stephen Frears’ (HIGH FIDELITY, THE QUEEN) dramedy PHILOMENA. Seven minutes of the film were shown to buyers in Cannes on May 16th, with TWC outbidding a number of other studios vying for rights. Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope penned the screenplay, which is based on the 2009 novel The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith. The project stars Judi Dench (NOTES ON A SCANDAL, THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL) and Coogan (THE TRIP, WHAT MAISIE KNEW) and was produced by Coogan, Tracey Seaward and Gabrielle Tana. Baby Cow’s Henry Normal, BBC Films’ Christine Langan, Pathé’s Francois Ivernel and Cameron McCracken and Magnolia Mae Films’ Carolyn Marks Blackwood executive produced.
EXCLUSIVE: The Weinstein Company has won the bidding for the Keanu Reeves-Reese Witherspoon sci-fi romance movie Passengers. I’m hearing the distributor has committed to a multi-million dollar minimum guarantee and a P&A commitment in the $25 million range for a wide release in 2014. I understand FilmDistrict and Open Road were in the mix here in Cannes for the project, which was written by Prometheus scribe Jon Spaihts and will be directed by Game Of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire helmer Brian Kirk in his major feature film debut. Wayfare Entertainment is financing and producing the pic. The plot: A spacecraft transporting thousands of people to a distant colony planet has a malfunction in one of its sleep chambers. As a result, a single passenger (Reeves) is awakened 90 years before anyone else. Faced with the prospect of growing old and dying alone, he eventually decides to wake up a second passenger (Witherspoon), marking the beginning of what becomes a unique love story. The script was developed by Stephen Hamel and Reeves at their production shingle Company Films. Hamel is producing with Wayfare CEO Ben Browning. Start Media’s Michael Maher and Lynwood Spinks are executive producing. CAA repped domestic sales rights; Exclusive Media has international rights.
The Weinsteins have been major players at Cannes, having already won the first big bidding battle of the festival by acquiring the Judi Dench movie Philomena — directed by Stephen Frears and co-starring Steve Coogan — based on seven minutes of footage shown to buyers. In addition, TWC landed U.S. and other territories for Suite Française, based on Irene Nemirovsky’s novel about a young woman who lives with her controlling mother-in-law in Nazi-occupied France and ends up falling for a German officer. Michelle Williams, Matthias Schoenaerts and Kristin Scott Thomas star. The company’s alt-distribution label Radius-TWC meanwhile picked up North American rights to Blue Ruin, one of the few U.S. titles screening in the Directors’ Fortnight section.
The Weinstein Company, TF1 DA and eOne will partner on Suite Française, the Michelle Williams, Matthias Schoenaerts and Kristin Scott Thomas drama directed by Saul Dibb. TWC will handle U.S. rights, along with distribution rights in Latin America, Australia, Russia and Germany. Production starts in June on the 1940s-set film that’s based on Irene Nemirovsky’s novel about a young woman who lives with her controlling mother-in-law in Nazi-occupied France and ends up falling for a German officer. The 15M euro film will shoot in Belgium and Paris.
Following a relatively new tradition they started a few years ago, The Weinstein Company on Friday night brought together a group of buyers, partners and press to preview its 2013 slate and meet filmmakers and stars. Although Harvey Weinstein never once mentioned the word “Oscar”, you can tell that’s definitely what he is thinking with a diverse mix of prestige projects that should give the awards-happy company lots of campaign fodder for 2013. He said after a rocky start the company has had a very good last four years and for 2012 made more than they ever did at Miramax. He also made a plea to the international audience gathered for the presentation at the Majestic Hotel for the continued independence of European filmmaking, especially in light of problems with the European Cultural Initiative. “We can’t let Europe be the same like the United States. What’s great about European movies is they are different and as long as they reflect their culture there will always be special movies like Amour, which we didn’t release last year, and so many movies like that. So keep your eye on the newspaper when this stuff comes up for votes or things we can do to influence it, I think it’s very important,” he said.
After the 40-minute reel led by the August 16th release The Butler and ending with the long-gestating Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Weinstein told me, “It’s a very eclectic, hard-hitting lineup that I am really proud of. What am I going to say? I feel very confident about this year”. Though he may not have been directly making an Oscar-season pitch (thankfully that’s still many months off even for Harvey — well, maybe not), he did make an overt plea for his official competition entries Only God Forgives and The Immigrant when introducing Cannes jury member Nicole Kidman, star of the December 27th release Grace Of Monaco. “We have a member of the jury with us tonight and she has to go for a jury meeting to hopefully decide which movie of mine wins the Palme d’Or. I have certainly given Steven (jury president Spielberg) enough money over the years,” he said to big laughs.
Cannes buyers had plenty of screenings to choose from today but the hottest movie on the Croisette right now is Philomena — or at least the seven minutes that were shown to buyers this morning. This is the Stephen Frears-directed movie that stars Judi Dench and Steve Coogan and is the true story of an Irish woman who searches for the illegitimate son she gave up for adoption in the U.S. I am hearing that The Weinstein Company is in exclusive negotiations for the pic for U.S., Canada and Spain distribution rights, this after Focus Features stepped out of the bidding. The wild part: the bidding is based on a morning screening of partial footage to domestic buyers, and the action is currently at $6.5 million for a film said to cost around $18 million. That is a shockingly high number for a teaser reel, but everyone I spoke to who saw it was knocked out. The pic is being sold directly by Pathe’s Muriel Sauzay, and a deal could make this evening even as everybody heads off to movies and dinner parties.
Deadline’s Mike Fleming reported several months back that The Weinstein Company was setting a production start in Asia on a sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Here’s the official release that just dropped confirming Crouching Dragon Hidden Tiger II — The Green Destiny and that Yuen Wo Ping, the legendary fight choreographer responsible from the high-wire action work in the original pic, will direct this one. He and sequel writer John Fusco worked together on The Forbidden Kingdom. Here’s the release:
New York, NY (May 16, 2013) – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today production of CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON II – THE GREEN DESTINY will begin in March 2014 in Asia. Yuen Wo Ping is set to direct with Donnie Yen starring as Silent Wolf and Michelle Yeoh reprising her role as Yu Shu Lien. The screenplay is based on IRON KNIGHT, SILVER VASE by Wang Du Lu, book 5 in the CRANE-IRON PENTALOGY series, on which the original CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON was based. The screenplay is written by John Fusco (FORBIDDEN KINGDOM, HIDALGO, SPIRIT) and will be produced by Harvey Weinstein and David Thwaites, co-produced by Johnny Levin with Executive Producer Anthony Wong. Yucaipa Films is co-financing the project.
New York, NY (May 15, 2013) – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today the hiring of Robert Walak as President/MD Europe – Production, Acquisitions & Television. Walak’s new role is effective immediately. The announcement was made by TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein and COO David Glasser. As President/MD Europe – Production, Acquisitions & Television, Walak will be heading and overseeing the UK operations for TWC. Additionally, executive Negeen Yazdi is returning to the company’s London office and being promoted to EVP Europe – Acquisitions and Co-Productions.
EXCLUSIVE: Bradley Cooper has now formally confirmed to star in the John Wells-directed Chef, making this one of the early projects stirring action from foreign buyers who can now visualize the Silver Linings Playbook star back in meltdown mode in this Shampoo-like drama. He plays a Paris chef named Adam Jones, who destroys his wunderkind status in a blaze of decadence and out of control behavior. He cleans up and returns to Paris sober, determined to redeem himself by spearheading a top restaurant that can gain three Michelin stars. This has been in the works a bit, and recently Cooper saw Wells’ upcoming TWC Oscar-bait movie August: Osage County and then TWC set Wells to direct Chef. They are now looking to round out that cast, and I’m hearing Michelle Williams and Marion Cotillard as potential female leads, and Omar Sy for co-starring role. The film’s produced by Stacey Sher, Erwin Stoff and Michael Shamberg.
The cheery first trailer for The Weinstein Company‘s Oscar-season dark family comedy August: Osage County, based on Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer- and Tony-winning play, has dropped. The monster cast includes Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Margo Martindale, Abigail Breslin, Chris Cooper and Dermot Mulroney among others. John Wells …
The Weinstein Co. has acquired worldwide rights to the live-action remake of Yasuomi Umetsu’s Japanese anime film Kite. Samuel L. Jackson stars with India Eisley (The Secret Life Of The American Teenager) and Callan McAuliffe (The Great Gatsby). South African director Ralph Ziman (Gangster’s Paradise: Jerusalema) stepped in for the late David R. Ellis back in February and filming had just wrapped. TWC is handling outside the U.S., South Africa and India.