Sony takes ‘Last Orders’

Schepisi pic joins 'Secret,' '13,' 'Actress' as SPC Toronto buys

NEW YORK — Besting two other suitors, Sony Pictures Classics has closed a deal with Winchester Films for rights in North America and some other territories to Fred Schepisi’s “Last Orders,” which had its world premiere at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival.

With the pickup, SPC has emerged as the largest buyer at Toronto, having grabbed Iranian film “Secret Ballot,” helmed by Babak Payami; Jill Sprecher’s “13 Conversations About One Thing”; and French helmer Yvan Attal’s first pic, “My Wife’s an Actress.”

Produced by Schepisi and Elisabeth Robinson and exec produced by Nik Powell, Rainer Mockert, Gary Smith and Chris Craib, “Last Orders” is a Scala/MBP production, with international sales handled by Winchester and U.K. distribution rights via Metrodome. German film fund MBP backed the $12 million pic along with Winchester.

In addition to North America, SPC took rights in Latin America, Scandinavia and Australia.

Cast of stars

Pic stars Michael Caine, Tom Courtenay, David Hemmings, Bob Hoskins, Helen Mirren and Ray Winstone; it introduces newcomers J.J. Feild, Kelly Reilly, Nolan Hemmings, Cameron Fitch and Anatol Yusef.

Based on Graham Swift’s Booker Prize-winning novel, “Last Orders” is a road-trip drama in which four men, in honoring their friend’s final wish, attempt to understand their life with him.

“Fred Schepisi is one of the world’s finest directors and he is at the peak of his form with ‘Last Orders,’ as is the superlative cast,” said SPC co-prexys Michael Barker and Tom Bernard. “We have wanted to work with him, producer Nik Powell and Winchester Films for some time. We now have the perfect opportunity.”

“We’re confident Sony Pictures Classics will give this heartfelt film the care it deserves,” said Los Angeles-based Winchester prexy, Hadeel Reda.

Added Robinson: “When I brought the film to Fred, I knew he would make a great film, even if it would be hard to finance. The actors and Fred made a brilliant film that I thought would be perfect for SPC. I am thrilled Michael, Tom and Dylan (Leiner) felt the same.”

Robinson was associate producer of the Academy Award-winning “Braveheart.” She exec produced and co-wrote “Simply Irresistible,” starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, released by Fox.

Winchester’s Andrew Brown and Gary Smith negotiated the deal with SPC. Company last co-financed the MGM release “Heartbreakers.”

The Claude Berri-produced “My Wife’s an Actress,” which stars Charlotte Gainsbourg, Attal’s wife in real life, tells of the frustrations of an unknown sports reporter married to a famous thesp.

Jacques Eric Strauss, handling international sales, also sold the pic to distribs in Italy, Israel, and Greece, and is in advanced negotiations for Germany and Spain. Pic will be released in France by Pathé, which owns a majority stake in Berri’s Renn Prods.

(Alison James in Paris contributed to this report.)

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