EXCLUSIVE: Netflix is here at Toronto unveiling Beasts Of No Nation and chasing acquisition titles including the Michael Moore documentary Where To Invade Next (they deny any offer was made made). The streaming service is separately close to a deal that continues to press its program to make original theatrical quality films for its global streaming service. Netflix is in discussions to back an adaptation of the Kent Haruf novel Our Souls At Night that will be a starring vehicle for Robert Redford and Jane Fonda. Redford will produce, and the script is going to be written by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, the scripting team behind (500) Days Of Summer, The Fault In Our Stars, Paper Towns and The Spectacular Now. I hear this deal is far down the line and should close soon. Redford and Fonda starred in 1967’s Barefoot in the Park and 1979’s The Electric Horseman, and wanted to work together again.
The Colorado-set novel begins as Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they’ve known each other for decades and were friends with their late spouses. Their children live far away and they are all alone in their big houses. She seeks to establish a romantic connection, and make the most of the rest of the time they have. I’m told the vision of the movie is similar in spirit to the Clint Eastwood-Meryl Streep-starrer Bridges of Madison County.
Redford, who plays Dan Rather in the journalism drama Truth that premiered last night here in Toronto, controls the book. Netflix would not comment, but if this consummates, it gives Netflix the opportunity to grow its demo, and it is another impact film to go along with Beasts of No Nation, the Brad Pitt-starrer War Machine, and the quartet of Adam Sandler films that begins with The Ridiculous Six.
Netflix’s model is to showcase these pictures on its streaming service, but it is working limited theatrical showings into the bigger projects. With Beast of No Nation, director Cary Fukunaga said that at Telluride his work was taken as seriously as any other festival feature headed for the big screen, and he was encouraged by the prospect of being viewed by Netflix’s massive subscriber base. More stars are taking shots on these pictures as Netflix continues to disrupt the status quo. Redford is repped by WME, Fonda by CAA and Untitled, and Neustadter & Weber by CAA and Kaplan/Perrone.