Sony Classics Buys "The Merchant of Venice" for North America and Germany
by Brian Brooks
North American and German rights to writer/director Michael Radford's "The Merchant of Venice" have been acquired by Sony Pictures Classics, the company announced yesterday. Adapted and directed for the screen by Radford, who directed "Il Postino," earning him two Oscar nominations, the film gives a modern twist on Shakespeare's tale of morality, revenge, redemption and love. "The Merchant of Venice" stars Academy Award winners Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, and Joseph Fiennes as well as newcomer Lynn Collins.
Sony Pictures Classics co-presidents Michael Barker and Tom Bernard, as well as SVP of acquisitions and productions, Dylan Leiner, negotiated the deal with Gary Hamilton, managing director for Arclight Films.
"We are excited to continue our relationship with Sony Pictures Classics," commented Hamilton, who also served as the film's executive producer, in a statement. "We're confident this controversial, brilliant film will be high on everyone's list come awards season." Continuing in the announcement, the execs said, "At long last this great play has become a fine movie, which features some of the finest acting of the year."
Cary Brokaw ("Closer," "Angels in America," "The Player"), Barry Navidi, Michael Cowan and Jason Piette produced "The Merchant of Venice," and the film will debut at the upcoming Venice and Toronto film festivals. Sony Classics will release the film theatrically before New Years, in time for Oscar consideration.