Harvey Weinstein, who has been ubiquitous at Sundance, has finally bagged a big catch: Derek Cianfrance’s $5-million Blue Valentine, starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as a married couple on the rocks. As Disney closed the doors Friday on the Weinsteins’ old company Miramax (named after their parents), the newly invigorated TWC is also nearing a deal on Sundance doc fave The Tillman Story. TWC was also in the bidding for The Kids Are All Right, which went to Focus Features.
UPDATE: WME Global’s Graham Taylor, producers Lynette Howell, Jason Patricof and Alex Orlovsky fielded offers Thursday night from Butch’s on Main Street, then repaired back to their condo, where they conferred via phone with their financeer, 18-month-old Incentive Filmed Entertainment in New York and Harvey Weinstein in L.A., who pursued the project with the most passion, spending time on the phone with director Cianfrance. They closed the deal at 6 AM.
Perhaps Weinstein wanted to be in control of coordinating this film with another Gosling movie with good buzz, All Good Things. Weinstein promised to support an aggressive fall opening with an awards campaign for the actors. While Weinstein cited the film’s two “incendiary” performances, Howell praised the veteran mogul’s passion: “He’s the king of it,” she said. “Harvey’s been through many incarnations, up and down, whatever he’s doing, he’s going to make it work. I don’t see an independent film business without Harvey. He’s a force of nature. We need him. “
In the end, TWC nabbed North American and Pan Asian rights in a low seven-figure deal, Howell confirmed. Other bids came in from IFC, Apparition, Oscilloscope and Fox Searchlight.
[indieWIRE Blue Valentine premiere photo by Brian Brooks]