EXCLUSIVE: Kristin Stewart’s portrayal as literary hoaxer JT Leroy is poised to get distribution after it premiered as one of the high profile titles at the 2018 Toronto Film Festival. Universal Pictures Home Entertainment Content Group is near to closing a U.S. rights to the Justin Kelly-directed drama. UPHE Content Group will set a U.S. theatrical release for the film and also gets in the deal some international rights that include Benelux, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and South Africa.

Stewart plays the title character alongside Laura Dern, Diane Kruger and Jim Sturgess in a film produced by Patrick Walmsley, Julie Yorn, Thor Bradwell, Gary Pearl, Cassian Elwes, Giri Tharan, Mark Amin, and Dave Hansen.

The fact-based drama has Stewart playing Savannah Knoop, a young woman who spends six years pretending to be the celebrated author JT Leroy until the scandalous revelation that this was a literary persona invented by Knoop’s boyfriend’s sister (Dern), who actually wrote the novels. The film is written and directed by Kelly (King Cobra, Welcome the Stranger) and co-written by Savannah Knoop, based on Knoop’s book about her experiences “playing” LeRoy.

JT Leroy was executive produced by Kelly, Savannah Knoop, Phyllis Laing, Devan Towers, Anders Erden, Simon Williams, Wayne Marc Godfrey, Robert Jones, Cami Winikoff, Tyler Boehm, Jed Root, Tracy Christian, Nadine De Barros, Erika Olde, Margot Hand, and Jere Hausfater.

CAA Media Finance and Cassian Elwes brokered the deal.