Cannes: Saban Saddles Up North American Rights To Tommy Lee Jones’ ‘The Homesman’

Freshly-minted distributor Saban Films has acquired North American rights to Cannes Competition entry, The Homesman. The sophomore directing effort from Tommy Lee Jones is Saban’s first acquisition after launching just last week, and Deadline hears they put down what was about a $3.5M MG. Jones also stars with Hilary Swank, and a supporting cast that includes Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter, Hailee Steinfeld, James Spader and Meryl Streep. Saban is headed up by Bill Bromiley who came to Cannes with an aggressive acquisitions strategy and quickly targeted the film after its official debut on Sunday in what is understood to have been a competitive situation. The film received generally upbeat reviews and Deadline’s Pete Hammond has said it has awards potential. The deal was made with majority owner of the North American rights, Brian Kennedy. EuropaCorp is selling internationally.

The Homesman is produced by Peter Brant, Kennedy and Luc Besson and is based on the 1988 novel by Glendon Swarthout with a screenplay by Jones, Kieran Fitzgerald and Wesley A. Oliver, It’s set in mid-19th century on the edges of the American frontier. When three women are driven insane, the task of delivering them back east falls to a pious spinster (Swank) who employs a drifter (Jones) to aide in the effort. They cross the untamed Nebraska Territories in a journey marked by stark beauty, constant threat, and psychological peril. Their destination is a church in Iowa where a minister’s wife (Streep) waits to relieve them of the lost souls in their care.

Representing the film in the sale to Saban Films was CAA and Scott Edel of Loeb & Loeb. Bromiley, Ness Saban and Niveen Tadros, EVP & General Counsel, negotiated the acquisition on behalf of Saban Films.

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