SUNDANCE UPDATE: Deal For 'Like Crazy'?

2ND UPDATE 4 PM: Deadline is hearing that the ask for Like Crazy is a $2 million minimum guarantee, and a $2 million P&A commitment. Fox Searchlight, The Weinstein Company, and Summit Entertainment are circling. But nothing is easy these days; dealmakers say that the coming-of-age film would have had multi-million dollar bids on the table instantly three years ago. But distributors are circumspect these days, running models and looking hard at their release calendars to see if the picture fits. Insiders say 7-figure bidding is going on, and if that’s true, it won’t be long before a deal is made.

It is an embarrassment of riches for the UTA team of Rich Klubeck, Rena Ronson, Bec Smith, and David Flynn, who are repping or co-repping 14 titles here. Some of the most promising are front-loaded in the festival. They are moving to close a deal on The Guard (hearing Sony Pictures Classics one of those in the mix), as well as Margin Call. And they have a 6:15 PM premiere screening of the Paul Rudd-starrer My Idiot Brother, which many feel has the potential to be the festival’s biggest sale, and one that is likely to happen in a hurry if it’s got commercial breakout potential.

UPDATE, SATURDAY 3 PM: Sundance competition pic Like Crazy played strongly at the Eccles theater in Park City this afternoon. Summit’s Eric Feig went up to the film’s producer after it played, and the film’s sales agents, UTA’s Rich Klubeck and David Flynn, are now fielding offers from distributors including Summit. Harvey Weinstein sat through the whole film, which could signal his continued interest.

SATURDAY 10:15 AM: Director Drake Doremus and producer Jonathan Schwartz are in Park City with a film for the third year in a row. Their latest, Like Crazy is a trans-Atlantic love story starring Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, and Sundance 2010 breakout Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) and is one of the fest’s most anticipated films and screens today at noon at the large Eccles theater. Last year, the duo had Douchebag in Dramatic Competition at Sundance; the year before, Spooner at Slamdance. At their cast and crew dinner last night, the filmmakers had a quick visit from Harvey Weinstein, who is famous for showing early support and passion for a potential acquisition. The dinner was filled with CAA agents who helped cast the film, including Tracy Brennan who reps both Jones and Lawrence, as well as Charlie Bewley (Twilight) who has a small role. Mick Sullivan was there with his client Yelchin, along with manager Cynthia Pett-Dante and attorney David Weber. CAA’s Kevin Huvane was there too.

Like Crazy has already received a love letter from Los Angeles Times critic Kenny Turan, who was sneaked an early copy of the film. That kind of prefest buzz along with a high-profile cast has ratcheted up the hype for the film. Doremus and Schwartz, along with the film’s other producer Andrea Sperling, are hopeful this will translate into a distribution deal. “You can have all the buzz in the world but someone’s got to want to release your film,” said Schwartz. Described by Doremus as “a voyeuristic look at a long-distance relationship over eight years,” Like Crazy could be loosely compared to last year’s Sundance darling Blue Valentine — which The Weinstein Co distributed. If all goes well today, the film could follow in its path.

Like Crazy came together immediately after last year’s festival. “We got back from Sundance with Douchebag and Drake was getting interest from studios, but he wanted to make a very personal movie,” Schwartz says. “The first outline was done on March 10.” Schwartz and Yelchin had been looking to do a project together, and the Star Trek actor came on board fast after meeting Doremus. The Like Crazy shoot wrapped in June so that Yelchin could move on to Dreamworks’ Fright Night. Brennan delivered a British actress quickly to play opposite Yelchin. Jones was cast over the phone from London after she taped several scenes of the script for Doremus. Lawrence met the filmmakers at last year’s fest, and agreed to play the film’s third lead. (Freelancer Sharon Swart is assisting Deadline’s Sundance coverage.)

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