By Anne Thompson & Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood March 25, 2013 at 11:25AM
UPDATE: The Weinstein Company finally confirmed their acquisition of US distribution rights to Olivier Dahan's "Grace of Monaco," starring Nicole Kidman in the title role. The film is set for an Oscar-friendly December 27 release.
EARLIER: Start the Oscar buzz now. Dahan, who directed Marion Cotillard to her Oscar win for "La vie en rose," has given Nicole Kidman the much-coveted title role in his Grace Kelly biopic "Grace of Monaco."
How did the 44-year old actress land the role? After all, the movie is set between 1961-62, when Kelly was 32. The answer: the star of this movie not only had to boast the movie star looks, class, and smarts to play Grace Kelly, but needed to be an internationally bankable star. Kidman would raise more funding and boost the budget for this period film, as well as adding to its awards prospects by dangling the sugar plum of a fourth Oscar nomination in distributors' heads. The film has been compared to The Weinstein Co.'s Oscar-winning "The King's Speech"; Kidman is also a favorite of Harvey Weinstein, who championed her Oscar-winning role in "The Hours." These are assets that her younger competitors did not have.
Arash Amel's script, which landed on the 2011 Black List of best unproduced screenplays, begins six years into the Oscar-winning refugee from Hollywood's marriage to Prince Rainier III of Monaco. While she's already raising two kids, she's also involved in the politics of the tiny city-state, per THR, which "got into a heated dispute with France, which grew tired of the petite principality being a tax haven. Kelly, still relatively new in her role as princess, maneuvered behind the scenes to save Monaco from a coup."
Appian Way is producing.
Last October we considered which actresses could pull off the role, from Rosamund Pike, Gwyneth Paltrow and Naomi Watts to Charlize Theron, January Jones, Diane Kruger and Amber Heard. We focused on younger players who could play 32 and dismissed Kidman because of her age. Thankfully others did not.
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