By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com November 4, 2011 at 11:22AM
Back in July, after taking a look at the script for Britflick "Song for Marion" which, at the time, was just about to start shooting with stars Terence Stamp, Vanessa Redgrave and Gemma Arterton, we wrote "If we were Harvey Weinstein we’d be snapping up the rights immediately; undoubtedly reminiscent of films like 'Brassed Off,' 'The Full Monty' and 'Calendar Girls,' with a little Mike Leigh thrown in, it’s rather lovely, and in places very funny, but Williams also brings emotion that’s perhaps more raw than similar films to the table. Mark our words, given the giant success of the choir-based 'Glee,' it’s got all the makings of a major sleeper hit, and Stamp has the kind of role that stinks of Oscar."
Well, it's good to know that the big man was taking notes, as Variety reports from the American Film Market that The Weinstein Company are in final talks to take North American distribution rights to the project, which is currently in post-production. The film comes from Paul Andrew Williams -- who made a storming debut with "London to Brighton" in 2006 before following it up with horrors "The Cottage" and "Cherry Tree Lane" -- and it follows Arthur (Stamp), a grumpy old man in the North of England, whose wife Marion (Redgrave) is the member of a choir for pensioners, run by a young music teacher (Arterton). When Marion is stricken with cancer, Arthur finds himself becoming involved with the singing group, to the surprise of his estranged son (Christopher Ecclestone). Like we said, on the page, it's warm, moving stuff, and Harvey clearly agrees. We're sure that picking up the film is the first step of an Oscar campaign for Stamp, and indeed the project in general -- it's firmly in the underdog wheelhouse that the company always does so well with at awards season.
Of course, the Weinsteins have a history of stacking the deck with Academy hopefuls. Watch how "W.E" and "Butter" have been neglected after weak reviews in favor of "The Artist" and "Sarah's Key" (which heads back onto 300 screens today). And there's already a few films that they'll be focusing on for the 2012/2013 season -- Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" and Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" will obviously both be priorities, while David O Russell's "The Silver Linings Playbook" and Andrew Dominik's "Cogan's Trade" are also in the mix.
But "Song for Marion" fits snugly into the 'little-film-that-could' category, and we've been out on a limb since the summer as predicting that Stamp will be among the nominees at the Kodak come February 2013. It's unclear exactly when we'll see the film; it's possible that Williams is rushing to get it done for Sundance, which would be a good place to bow it, but it's more likely that it won't emerge until Toronto 2012. And Harvey? Give us a ring, you can send our finder's fee via PayPal.