EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Classics has come away with North American rights to Paris Can Wait, the film that marks the narrative directorial debut — at age 80 — of Eleanor Coppola, who wrote the script as well and produced. Her film stars Diane Lane, Arnaud Viard and Alec Baldwin. Lane plays an American woman in a tired marriage who finds herself on an unforeseen road trip from Cannes to Paris with a dashing Frenchman. A seven-hour drive unexpectedly takes two days with many diversions.

Coppola is the wife of Francis Ford Coppola, and she directed the famed documentary Heart o Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse. She waited a long time to make her narrative feature debut, but the film drew high marks for its potential with a female demo. It premiered September 12 at the Toronto Film Festival at the Winter Garden Theatre.

ICM Partners and Barry Hirsch brokered the U.S. deal and Molly Thompson worked on behalf of A+E and Lifetime Films. Protagonist is handling international sales. Coppola and Fred Roos produced the pic, which is executive produced by Michael Zakin, Lisa Hamilton Daly, Tanya Lopez, Rob Sharenow and Molly Thompson. The film is an American Zoetrope and Lifetime Films production in association with Corner Piece Capital and Tohokushinsha Film Corp.

It took awhile for the filmmakers to confirm, but they provided these statements:

“Eleanor Coppola’s Paris Can Wait is a movie to savor, something very fine. Elegantly directed, exquisitely designed and beautifully acted by Diane Lane and Arnaud Viard, this is that special movie that will bring pleasure to audiences everywhere. It is a privilege to be involved,” said Sony Pictures Classics.

“My long journey making my first fiction feature ended in Toronto to a welcoming audience, and I’m thrilled that Michael, Tom, Dylan and their team at Sony Pictures Classics will release it. They are the ‘gold standard’ in bringing very interesting, high quality films to the big screen over many years. I look forward to working with them to show Paris Can Wait to an even wider audience,” said Coppola.

“It is so gratifying to have been part of helping a creative spirit like Eleanor realize her vision. Seeing her make this wonderful film, so true to who she is, has been incredibly rewarding,” said Rob Sharenow, EVP and GM A&E and Lifetime. A+E Television retains second TV window rights to the film.

The film is an American Zoetrope and Lifetime Films production in association with Corner Piece Capital and Tohokushinsha Film Corp. It is the second splashy Toronto deal in days for SPC, which also acquired the Donald Sutherland-Helen Mirren road-trip pic The Leisure Seeker.