My inside-tipster on the Cannes competition told me to check out the Israeli entry from Oscar-nominated Beaufort director Joseph Cedar, Footnote (Hearat Shulayim), for which Sony Pictures Classics acquired North American and Latin rights before it screened Friday night. The comedic family drama, about rival father-son academics, aroused slight applause from the media. Cedar studied at the University of Jerusalem and NYU Film School. (Trailer is below.)
Distribs are also checking out John Hillcoat project Wettest County in the World, based on Matt Bondurant's novel about Prohibition-era Virginia bootleggers, starring Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman and current it-girls Mia Wasikowska and Jessica Chastain. Wasikowska scored high praise in Gus Van Sant's Un Certain Regard opener Restless, which has otherwise met with mixed response here. SPC will release, along with Chastain-starrer Take Shelter, which is playing in Critics Week, but deny any interest in Wettest County, which Glen Basner's FilmNation showed to Focus, UPDATE along with Relativity and Summit. With so many buyers hungry for product, the price for U.S. rights could go north of $6 million.
LaBeouf, Hardy and Jason Clark play three brothers who run alcohol for a gangster (Oldman) and are ardently chased by a deputy (Pearce). Wasikowska is LaBeouf's Mennonite love interest. Boardwalk Empire anyone?