Miramax picks up ‘Spirits’

Miramax Films has acquired all North American rights to Bille August’s currently lensing film of Isabel Allende’s “The House of the Spirits,” toplining Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irons, Glenn Close and Winona Ryder.

The Constantin Film production, in association with Spring Creek Prods. and Miramax Films, is produced by Bernd Eichinger, whose previous efforts include “The Neverending Story” and “Last Exit to Brooklyn.”

Helmer August, who won Palme d’Or awards at the Cannes Film Festival for his last two features “The Best Intentions” and Oscar winner “Pelle the Conqueror,” also has adapted Allende’s best-seller, the epic tale of three generations of a Chilean family. The international supporting cast includes Antonio Banderas, Vanessa Redgrave, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Maria Conchita Alonso, Jan Niklas, Sarita Choudhury, Vincent Gallo, Teri Polo and Joaquin Martinez.

Hans Zimmer, who scored such films as “Rain Man” and “Driving Miss Daisy,” is composing the music while Jorgen Persson, whose credits extend back to Bo Widerberg’s classic “Elvira Madigan,” is once again handling August’s cinematography.

“We are very pleased to be involved on such a prestigious film with such a distinguished cast,” said Miramax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein.

His brother, company co-chairman Bob Weinstein, added: “We’ve been friends with Bille August for 10 years and we are very excited to be working with him for the third time following ‘Twist and Shout’ and ‘Pelle the Conqueror.’ ”

Eichinger said, “As far as I know, it (“Spirits”) is the biggest acquisition in Miramax’s history and I am sure they will do everything in their power for the film’s success.”

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