The relationship between Harvey Weinstein and British filmmaker Stephen Frears is one that has proved very fruitful with Miramax releasing Frears’ Dirty Pretty Things and the Oscar-winning The Queen, starring Helen Mirren, but more significantly, Frears’ Mrs. Henderson Presents, starring Dame Judi Dench, was one of the very early releases for the fledgling The Weinstein Company back in 2005 when the Weinsteins broke off with Disney.
The Weinstein Company is keeping that relationship alive as it’s being reported out of Cannes that they’ve picked up the distribution rights for Frears’ latest, Philomena, which reunites him with Dench, for a reported $6 million.
Based on the real story from BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith’s 2009 book “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee,” the film stars Dench as the title character, an Irish woman who searches for the son she gave up for adoption as a teenager. The film was adapted by British comedian Steve Coogan who co-stars with Dench in the film as a journalist who helps with her search. Coogan co-wrote the script with Jeff Pope.
There had been reports from Deadline about ongoing talks between the Weinsteins and the film’s sellers, Pathe and BBC Films, but a reel shown at Cannes sealed the deal as other buyers dropped out.
Frears’ previous theatrical release was the Vegas comedy Lay the Favorite starring Rebecca Hall and Bruce Willis, which was released through the Weinsteins’ VOD arm Radius-TWC.