Inside Move: Miramax offering up ‘O’

Indie distribs get chance at Dimension pic

Although Miramax Films established much of its reputation by acquiring pics, the company has quietly moved to the other side of the table by offering domestic rights on Tim Blake Nelson’s “O,” an adaptation of “Othello” set within the context of a high school basketball team.

Why the change of heart for the Dimension Films production, which stars Julia Stiles, Rain Phoenix, Martin Sheen and Mekhi Phifer? A source close to the project said the filmmakers were frustrated when the film was finished in 1999 but Miramax delayed the drama until the first half of 2001, citing an overstuffed release schedule.

At least two other independent distributors were presented with the option of taking the U.S. release for “O.” Although some sources said they liked the film, no deals were made. So as of Monday, “O” is still slated for release through Dimension early next year.

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