EXCLUSIVE: I’m back on my feet after an awful case of jet lag, in time to lob a couple end-of-day stories as the Cannes Film Festival continues supplying splashy deals into the waning days. The Weinstein Company tonight is now in exclusive negotiations to acquire The Water Diviner, and is in position to land the directorial debut of Russell Crowe. This comes after Crowe traveled to the Croisette and presented about 12 minutes of footage to an array of distributors at the Majestic. He then hung around and met with them. The distributors I spoke with all came away very impressed by what Crowe had done. In the end, he and his WME Global reps felt that Harvey Weinstein would be the right man for the job of releasing the film. TWC has offered $4 million with the promised of a wide release. Crowe and Weinstein worked together years ago on Master And Commander.
In the film, Crowe plays an Australian man who travels to Turkey to find his three sons, who went missing after the brutal Battle of Gallipoli during WWI. I am told that there is an epic quality to the subject matter in the script by Andrew Knight and Andrew Anastasios, covering a war that absolutely decimated a generation of young Australian men. Anyone who saw Peter Weir’s Gallipoli knows the scale of carnage. I’ve heard The Water Diviner has a Braveheart quality to it. The film also stars Olga Kurylenko and Jai Courtney, the latter of whom plays a soldier who is organizing the effort to identify the tens of thousands of soldiers killed at Gallipoli. He reluctantly allows the grieving father to stay and look for his sons’ bodies. The film will be produced by Troy Lum and Andrew Mason for Hopscotch Features and by Keith Rodger for Fear Of God Films. RatPac Entertainment financed the film, with Brett Ratner and James Packer exec producing.
It’s a good time for Crowe, coming off Man Of Steel and Noah, and I expect that a deal will be struck before the week is over. WME Global is selling the film.