EXCLUSIVE: The majority of deal buzz at the Cannes Film Festival market is where the Megan Ellison-financed Wettest County in the World will be dealt for distribution, I’m told the next big deal to come together will be a Sony Pictures acquisition of Great Hope Springs, the David Frankel-directed Meryl Streep comedy from Mandate Pictures. I’ll have to get back to you on whether the studio bought more than domestic distribution rights, [UPDATE: I’ve heard in the neighborhood of $20 million for North American rights] but it’s being made in Hollywood and I’m told it dwarfs any deal that’ll be made here in Cannes. It’s a film Amy Pascal really wanted on her release schedule.
Streep and Tommy Lee Jones play one half of the troubled couple and Steve Carell plays the marriage therapist who tries to help rekindle their loveless relationship after 31 years of marriage. It’s their last shot before divorce. Vanessa Taylor wrote the script. Escape Artists’ Todd Black and Film 360’s Guymon Casady are producing. Shooting starts in August.
It is the second deal in recent days for a Meryl Streep film, after The Weinstein Company won a bidding battle Friday for Pathe’s The Iron Lady, shortly after buyers were shown five minutes of the film. Streep stars as Margaret Thatcher and Harvey Weinstein intends to make the film a focus of TWC’s Oscar season release schedule. Streep re-teams with her Mamma Mia! director Phyllida Lloyd.
Considering Hollywood’s fixation on young talent, isn’t it nice to see such a fuss made over an actress in her 60s, one who seems to score in just about every project she graces these days? In Great Hope Springs, Streep reteams with Frankel, her Devil Wears Prada director.