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The Weinsteins Acquire Cannes Pic 'The Sapphires' & Have Their Eye On James Gray's 'Low Life'

by Kevin Jagernauth
May 15, 2012 5:46 PM
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The Sapphires Low Life

Everything kicks off tomorrow, but the dealmaking has already begun at the Cannes Film Festival and Harvey Weinstein is already busy shaking hands and signing contracts.

Variety reports that The Weinstein Company has landed a chunk of worldwide rights, including North America of course, for Wayne Blair's "The Sapphires" starring Chris O'Dowd. No, this isn't a raunchy comedy, but instead, the Aussie flick is based on a true story of a girl group in the 1960s made up of four Aboriginal girls who entertain the U.S. troops in Vietnam. War? Music? Period drama? Sounds like it's hitting all the right notes for the Weinsteins. The film is screening out of competition, but with the Weinsteins giving it a stamp of approval, the previously under the radar flick will now get some extra shine. Here's the official synopsis -- you can check out a clip from the film below along with a couple images as well:

1968 was the year the planet went haywire. All around the globe, there were riots and revolution in the streets. There were hard drugs, soft drugs, free love and psychedelic music. There was the shock of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy’s assassinations.

And dominating every other news story. There was Vietnam.

For four gorgeous young women from a remote Aboriginal mission, 1968 was the year that changed their lives forever. Sisters Gail, Julie and Cynthia, together with their cousin Kay, are discovered by Dave, a down-on-his-luck Irish musician with attitude, a taste for Irish Whiskey and an ear for Soul Music. Dave steers the girls away from their Country & Western origins then flies them to the war-zones of South Vietnam, where they sing Soul Classics for the American Marines. On tour in the Mekong Delta, the girls sing up a storm, dodge bullets. And fall in love.

But there may be more to come from the Weinsteins. The plugged in Thompson On Hollywood is hearing that Harv and co. may also snap up the rights to James Gray's '20s set immigration drama "Low Life" starring Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Renner. The Weinsteins have worked with Gray before back in their Miramax days, backing the excellent "The Yards" and it seems their ready to re-up that relationship. Gray had previously told us the film could be ready in time for TIFF, which would be a nice pic for Harv to rep. Right now, the Weinsteins are unloading two mega titles at Cannes in "Lawless" and "Killing Them Softly" and currently have Dustin Hoffman's "Quartet" and the '50s set French rom-com "Populaire" waiting in the wings for any kind of fall appearance. "Low Life" would certainly boost that slate.

Anyway, a lot more deals to be done over the next ten days. The Cannes Film Festival runs from May 16-27.

The Sapphires Chris O'Dowd
The Sapphires
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  • GoOnNow | May 16, 2012 10:29 AMReply

    I think that if Harvey snatches "Lowlife" he will try to make Joaquin Phoenix a double nominee, leading here and supporting for "The Master".

    Don't forget the cast of "Quartet" :) it has Maggie Smith; hence on the Oscar actress side of things, he would have her + Marion, should he acquire the rights for "Lowlife".

  • Jimmy Gator | May 15, 2012 10:01 PMReply

    While the Weinstein Co. are gold at campaigning for Oscars, I'm worried that having too many fantastic-sounding Oscar bait movies on their slate (The Master, Lawless, Killing Them Softly, the Silver Linings Playbooks, Django Unchained, Inside Llewyn Davis) means that some won't get the Oscar campaign and thus any of the attention they deserve. This happened with Blue Valentine in 2010 and A Single Man in 2009 where all the focus were diverted to the King's Speech and Basterds. I only hope that The Master won't be jettisoned

    I'm starting to worry that the Weinstein Co's expanding slate of fantastic-sounding movies this year means that some really good movies are going to fly under the radar and won't get the Oscar attention (Oscar campaign) they deserve.

  • Cde. | May 15, 2012 11:16 PM

    Killing Them Softly is a comedy, and I doubt it will get a big Oscar push outside of some acting nominations and adapted screenplay. I don't think the Weinsteins have Inside Llewyn Davis, but if they do, it's said to be a very weird comedy, and Coens films along those lines aren't generally treated as Oscar bait.
    I have a feeling that Lawless wouldn't really play well to Academy types either, and the early release date suggests that Weinstein feels the same.
    That leaves Django, The Master, The Silver Linings Playbook and possibly Low Life. Still a bit crammed, but they might not all hit big. Django could be too controversial to be a major contender. I'd say they're covering all their bases.

  • jingmei | May 15, 2012 9:55 PMReply

    Nice humorous tunes in this post.

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