Filmmaker Jeff Nichols is having a very good trip to the Berlin International Film Festival this year.
Just hours after his “Midnight Special” debuted at the festival (to mixed reviews that, as Sam Adams at Criticwire notes, still make it sound like an essential watch for fans of both Nichols’ brand of restrained cinema and the wonder implicit in early Steven Spielberg films), Nichols has sold his next film to Focus Features.
Deadline reports that Nichols’ “Loving,” based on the historic Loving v. Virginia case, was picked up for a deal worth $9 million for both North America and most international territories, including the UK and Latin America.
The film stars Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga as Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial married couple who were jailed for their union in 1958 Viriginia. The pair fought back against the laws that made their marriage punishable, leading to a landmark Supreme Court case that eventually reversed all restrictions on marriage based on race. Michael Shannon, Nichols’ frequent lead (both he and Edgerton star in “Midnight Special”), also appears in the film.
Per Deadline, “the deal was made off of promo footage shown to buyers last night by CAA, which brokered the deal in heated competition.” It is the first deal made by Focus’ new leadership team, which includes Peter Kujawski, Abhijay Prakash and Robert Walak.
The film was financed by Big Beach and developed by Raindog Films.