New York, NY – March 19, 2013 – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today their acquisition of U.S. distribution rights to the French language biopic YVES SAINT LAURENT. The film will be directed by Jalil Lespert (HEADWINDS) with a screenplay by Lespert and Marrie-Pierre Huster. Pierre Niney (18 YEARS OLD AND RISING) will star as legendary fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, with Guillaume Gallienne (MARIE ANTOINETTE) set to play Saint Laurent’s onetime romantic partner and fashion house co-founder Pierre Berge. Wy Productions’ Wassim Béji is producing the project.
In January 1958, Yves Saint Laurent – aged merely 21 – was unexpectedly called upon to oversee the great Paris fashion house established by the recently deceased Christian Dior. All eyes turned to this very young assistant as he presented his first haute couture collection for Dior. During the highly successful and groundbreaking show, Saint Laurent met Pierre Bergé, patron of the arts, future love of his life and lifelong business partner. Three years later, they created the Yves Saint Laurent Company, which became one of the most famous brands in fashion and luxury. Despite his own doubts and demons, Saint Laurent, fostered by Bergé, managed to turn the sleepy world of fashion upside down.
Commenting on the deal, Lespert said: “YSL’s story is a ‘bigger than life’ type of story. It is also one of the few subjects which is ‘so French’ and, at the same time, internationally appealing. I’m very proud to see my film brought to American audiences by TWC, who are the best possible partners, and so happy to work with Harvey Weinstein who has shown over the years his profound love for French cinema.”
“Yves Saint Laurent’s unmatched vision, ambition, and business savvy continue to spark intrigue in the eyes of the world.” said TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein. “The personal and business relationship shared between him and Pierre Bergé only added further depth to his story; we feel that Jalil Lespert’s film will perfectly capture these combined elements.”
Director Bertrand Bonello is also preparing to shoot a film on Saint Laurent starring Gaspard Ulliel and Jeremie Renier and produced by Mandarin Cinema. The projects are not connected.
The deal was negotiated in Los Angeles by COO David Glasser and Michal Steinberg for The Weinstein Company with Lionel Uzan at SND Groupe M6 and Nigel Pearson at Loeb & Loeb LLP on behalf of the filmmakers. Right to several territories have already been sold, including to Entertainment One (UK, Canada and Australia), AB Svenks (Scandinavia), Top Film Distribution (Russia), Lusomundo (Portugal), ITI Cinema (Poland), Italia Films (Middle East), Square One (Germany and Austria), AQS (Czech Republic), Pathe (Switzerland) and Mediamax (Turkey.)