EXCLUSIVE: Another splashy Toronto deal near: Sony Pictures Classics is close to landing The Leisure Seeker, the Paolo Virzi-directed film that stars Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland. The deal is mid-seven figures for U.S. rights and some other territories. Mirren and Sutherland play a long married couple that fears it is nearing the end of the road. So the couple decides to stretch that road by hopping aboard a vintage Winnebago Leisure Seeker to visit the Key West house of John’s hero, Ernest Hemingway. They do this despite the warnings of their doctors back in Boston, and their grown children who all think this road trip is a bad idea. The film is currently in production, and the deal is being made on promo footage. This has been an intriguing package, brokered by CAA for BAC Films. Like the Pablo Larrain-directed Jackie, this first caught the interest of buyers at Cannes, but no deal was consummated despite a lot of interest. It also has to be a relief for the agent who sold it: CAA’s Roeg Sutherland, after all, is the son of actor Donald Sutherland, who plays the husband in a road trip picture that is based on the 2009 novel by Michael Zadoorian.
While the pace of deals has been sporadic at the 2016 Toronto Film Festival, CAA has had a very strong festival, between finished films and pre-buys. That started with the Focus Features deal for the untitled Paul Thomas Anderson-directed drama that will star Daniel Day-Lewis, and continued with the Ben Younger-directed Isle of Man with Bold Films. The agency has brokered finished film deals for Jackie, Colossal, Bad Batch, Their Finest, and the Netflix buy of What Happens To Monday. Many of the films playing in the festival were sold in pre-buys here by the agency, including A Monster Calls, Nocturnal Animals, Loving, American Honey, and Bleed for This.
Virzi directed Like Crazy, which played in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes. Leisure Seeker reunites Mirren and Sutherland, who played a couple in 1990’s Philip Borsos-directed China-set saga Bethune: The Making of a Hero. Francesca Archibugi and Francesco Piccolo wrote the screenplay in collaboration with Stephen Amidon and Virzi. Fabrizio Donvito, Benedetto Habib, and Marco Cohen is producing for Indiana Production Company, with Alessandro Mascheroni, Daniel Campos Pavoncelli and Dov Mamann serving as exec producers. Indiana Production Company is producing with RAI Cinema. 3 Marys are the associate producers. BAC Films’ David Grumbach and Mathieu Robine are also in producing capacities.
Numerous attempts to reach SPC were unavailing.