The Cannes Film Festival is about more than the prestige associated with winning the Palme d’Or or the glitz, glamour and couture of the red carpet — the festival is also a hub of wheeling and dealing. Each day brings reports of new acquisitions, with the dizzying dance between buyers and sellers occurring at breakneck speeds. Focus Features struck preemptively this year, snagging the rights to the Charlize Theron spy thriller “The Coldest City” before the festival even got officially underway.
The Weinstein Company made one of the biggest minimum guarantee deals ($6 million) in recent years at the festival to secure “Three Generations,” starring Elle Fanning, Naomi Watts and Susan Sarandon. Fanning plays a teen who wants to transition from female to male. Gaby Dellal directed and co-wrote the film, which attracted the interest of buyers — and set off a bidding war — based on a 10-minute promo reel of the film. Given the amount the Weinstein Co. was willing to shell out and the star-studded cast of the film, it seems likely that this will be an awards contender.
A market screening for Catherine Hardwicke’s latest offering, a romantic comedy-drama starring Toni Collette and Drew Barrymore, resulted in deals in France, Germany, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong. “Miss You Already” focuses on a lifelong friendship between two friends whose relationship is complicated by one starting a family while the other deals with illness. Jaqueline Bisset co-stars in the film, which has already secured deals in the UK and Australia.
Marjane Satrapi has been tapped to direct “The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe.” According to Satrapi, the film is “a story about love, magic and adventure, and it takes place across three continents.” “The Voices” director added, “I’m drawn to fantasy stories, and I love creating worlds that don’t exist, imagining things in bigger and more beautiful ways, because reality bores me.” Satrapi won a Special Jury Prize at Cannes in 2007 for co-writing and co-directing the film adaptation of her graphic novel “Persepolis.”
On the women-centric front, Peter Ho-Sun Chan will bring the life of Chinese tennis star Li Na to the big screen. Li, who was forced into early retirement last year due to injuries, will work as a consultant on the film. She bears the distinction of being the only Asian tennis player in history to win a Grand Slam title.
“[Li] broke rules and defied conventions and, against all odds, became a legend. I’m mesmerized by what she has been able to accomplish and [by] what she represents as a symbol of hope for millions of people around the world,” said Chan.