It wouldn’t be slanderous to say the producer Harvey Weinstein can be a bit contentious at times, and no one would know better than director James Gray, who worked with Harvey on his 2000 crime drama “The Yards.” According to what Gray said about Harvey to the LA Times back in 2000, Weinstein fought Gray on every creative decision, never marketed the movie, and eventually dumped it into 140 screens and skipped the premiere. At the time, Gray said he was “not bitter” about working with Harvey and, thirteen years later, he’s holding true to his word as The Weinstein Company is lining up to distribute his latest film.
Formerly titled “Low Life” and “American Dream,” the now-untitled film caught the eye of the studio at the Cannes Film Festival last month. Now, The Weinstein Company is nearing a deal to distribute the film next year. Set in 1920, the film follows Marion Cotillard as one of two immigrant sisters who travel to New York, only to see the other sister become deathly ill. In order to help her, Cotillard heads down a dark path where she sells herself for money and medicine, eventually falling for a charming magician (Jeremy Renner), the cousin of the sleaze who keeps her turning tricks (Gray regular Joaquin Phoenix).
The story sounds like the typical, gritty storytelling that Gray succeeded so well with in “We Own the Night” and “The Yards,” and, if that wasn’t exciting enough, Gray also told us in March that the film is “going to be my best work.” While Gray told us the film could be ready in time for TIFF in the fall, the Weinsteins apparently have “big plans for this one.” Our guess? The Weinstein awards season/release slate for 2012 is already pretty booked up (“Django Unchained,” “The Master,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Killing Them Softly“) to squeeze in another movie. Combine that with the acclaim Gray already has with French critics and we’re predicting a Cannes Film Festival debut for this next spring isn’t entirely out of the question. [Deadline]