In its fifth acquisition of the Toronto International Film Festival, a voracious Roadside Attractions has picked up U.S. distribution rights to the historical drama “Emperor.” The film, directed by Peter Webber, had its world premiere Friday at Roy Thomson Hall and will receive a theatrical release in the spring.
Based on events that took place right after the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II, “Emperor” focuses on an expert on General MacArthur’s staff who seeks out a Japanese woman with whom he had an affair years before as he decides whether Emperor Hirohito should be tried as a war criminal. Matthew Fox, Tommy Lee Jones and Eriko Hatsune star in the film, which is the first to be granted access to shoot on the emperor’s Imperial grounds.
David Klass and Vera Blasi wrote the screenplay. Yoko Narahashi, Gary Foster, Eugene Nomura and Russ Krasnoff produced the project, which is a co-production of Fellers Film and Krasnoff/Foster Entertainment.
“‘Emperor’ is a fascinating, dramatic untold story of WWII and Japanese-American relations,” said Roadside co-president Howard Cohen. “We think it will resonate for history buffs and movie lovers alike, and we’re proud to bring it to the U.S.”
Cohen negotiated the deal with CAA on behalf of the filmmakers. Sierra/Affinity is handling international sales. Lionsgate will handle all ancillary releases of the film.
Roadside also acquired Sarah Polley’s “Stories We Tell” during the Toronto fest, and with Lionsgate it picked up “Imogene,” “Thanks for Sharing” and “Much Ado About Nothing.”