EXCLUSIVE: Open Road Films has acquired U.S. rights to The Promise, the new film from Terry George about the Armenian genocide that had its world premiere in the fall at Toronto. Open Road, which acquired and distributed last year’s Best Picture Oscar winner Spotlight, has set an April 28 wide release date for the pic.
Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon and Christian Bale star alongside Shohreh Aghdashloo, Angela Sarafyan, Jean Reno, James Cromwell, Daniel Giminez Cacho and Marwan Kenzari. Eric Esrailian, Mike Medavoy and William Horberg.
Survival Pictures, founded by Kirk Kerkorian, developed and produced the project under Esrailian and co-manager Anthony Mandekic.
“We are proud to add this prestigious film to our 2017 slate,” said Open Road’s Tom Ortenberg. “An epic love story set against a turning point in world history, The Promise features top-notch performances and first-class filmmaking and we are looking forward to sharing the movie with audiences across the country.”
The plot: It is 1914. As the Great War looms, the vast Ottoman Empire is crumbling. Constantinople, the once-vibrant multicultural capital on the shores of the Bosphorus, is about to be consumed by chaos. Michael Boghosian (Isaac) arrives in the cosmopolitan hub as a medical student determined to bring modern medicine back to Siroun, his ancestral village in Southern Turkey where Turkish Muslims and Armenian Christians have lived side by side for centuries. Photojournalist Chris Myers (Bale) has come here only partly to cover geo-politics. He is mesmerized by his love for Ana (le Bon), an Armenian artist he has accompanied from Paris after the sudden death of her father.
When Michael meets Ana, their shared Armenian heritage sparks an attraction that explodes into a romantic rivalry between the two men. As the Turks form an alliance with Germany and the Empire turns violently against its own ethnic minorities, their conflicting passions must be deferred while they join forces to survive even as events threaten to overwhelm them.
George shared with Keir Pearson the Best Original Screenplay Oscar in 2005 for Hotel Rwanda, another movie that dealt with the topic of genocide. The film, which he also directed, was nominated for three Oscars.
The deal for The Promise was negotiated on behalf of Open Road by Ortenberg, COO and general counsel Elliott Kleinberg and SVP Acqusitions Lejo Pet; and by WME Global and David Boyle on behalf of Survival Pictures.