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by Brian Brooks
March 29, 2010 3:42 AM
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"Mao's Last Dancer" Sashays to Goldwyn

A scene from Bruce Beresford's "Mao's Last Dancer." Image courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films.

U.S. rights to Academy Award nominee Bruce Beresford ("Driving Miss Daisy") "Mao's Last Dancer" have been picked up by Samuel Goldwyn Films, the distributor said Monday. Peter Goldwyn, Vice President of Acquisitions for Samuel Goldwyn Films negotiated the deal with Hengameh Panahi of Celluloid Dreams. The company plans to open the feature August 6th.

Starring Bruce Greenwood, Kyle MacLachlan, Joan Chen, Chi Cao and Amanda Schull, "Mao's Last Dancer" is the true story of dancer Li Cunxin and his journey from poverty to international stardom. Based on the best selling autobiography, the film is described by Goldwyn as a "moving story about the quest for freedom and the courage it takes to live your own life. The film beautifully captures the struggle and triumph, as well as the intoxicating effects of first love and celebrity amid the pain of exile."

Award nominee Jane Scott ("Shine") produced the "Dancer" from a screenplay by Oscar nominee Jan Sardi ("Shine," "The Notebook"). The film opened in Australia where it is currently one of the highest grossing films of all time.

"'Mao's Last Dancer' is a hauntingly beautiful film with universal appeal that I’ve been thinking about nonstop since [the Toronto International Film Festival]," said Sam Goldwyn Jr., Chairman and CEO of Samuel Goldwyn Films in a statement. "We are ecstatic to bring Bruce Beresford’s and Jane Scott’s outstanding film to the U.S.”

Goldwyn's recent slate includes Audrey Tautou starrer "Priceless," Claude Lelouch's "Roman De Gare," "Elegy" with Penelope Cruz and "Elegy" with Sir Ben Kingsley.

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