Focus Features has landed U.S. rights to one of TIFF's hot acquisition titles which played well at its world premiere: the hardboiled drama "The Place Beyond the Pines," which is dominated first by Ryan Gosling and then Bradley Cooper. It's writer-director Derek Cianfrance's follow-up to "Blue Valentine," which also starred Gosling (and Oscar-nominated Michelle Williams), and was also produced by Lynette Howell and Jamie Patricoff's Electric City Entertainment and Alex Orlovsky's Verisimilitude.
Focus made the deal for a 2013 release. Focus is having a good festival, as Working Title's "Anna Karenina" was well-received here. (Roger Michell's FDR drama "Hyde Park on Hudson" debuts Monday). Focus paid between $2.5 and 3 million for the rights.
Written by Cianfrance, Ben Coccio, and Darius Marder, "Place Beyond the Pines" was financed by Sidney Kimmel Entertainment (SKE) and produced by SKE’s Sidney Kimmel; exec producers are Jim Tauber, Matt Berenson, and Bruce Toll. WME Global and Creative Artists Agency sold North American rights; Sierra/Affinity is handling international sales.
The film introduces a nomadic motorbike stunt performer (Gosling) who sees an old flame (Eva Mendes) and discovers that she is raising his child. He decides to stick around and lands a job with a mechanic (an excellent Ben Mendelsohn), who enlists Gosling in his favorite sideline: bank robbery. Gosling wants to support his child and takes to the adrenaline rush like a moth to flame. Soon a policeman (Cooper) is on his tail. The movie also co-stars Rose Byrne, Mahershala Ali, Emory Cohen, Dane DeHaan, Gabe Fazio, Bruce Greenwood, Ray Liotta and and Harris Yulin.
“Derek Cianfrance has made a bold, epic, and emotionally generous saga," stated Focus execs James Schamus and Andrew Karpen, "once again showing a master’s hand in eliciting searingly beautiful performances from the actors with whom he collaborates.”
Other Toronto deals closed this weekend include Strand Releasing's pick-up of U.S. Rights to Ulrich Seidl's "Paradise" trilogy, which encompasses "Paradise: Love," which debuted in competition at Cannes and kicked up controversy in Telluride, with its story about vacationing middle-aged women ("Sugar Mamas") bedding down younger Kenyan men. It is also playing in Toronto. The second film, "Paradise: Faith," which focuses on a single 50ish woman who devotes her summer vacation to doing missionary work, just won the jury prize at Venice, and the third, "Paradise: Hope," about a girl falls in love at a teen diet camp, will be screened in 2013.