Co. beefs up slate with Schulman adaptation 'P.S.'

NEW YORK — Newmarket Films has acquired North American rights to Dylan Kidd’s “P.S.,” a romantic fable from Hart Sharp Entertainment, starring Laura Linney and Topher Grace.

Deal further signals the push by feisty specialty player Newmarket to beef up its slate (last week the company announced the acquisition of John Sayles’ political satire “Silver City”). The distrib is riding high this season with the success of Oscar winner “Monster” and the performance of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” which last week crossed the $300 million threshold.

“P.S.” also stars Gabriel Byrne, Marcia Gay Harden, Paul Rudd and Lois Smith. Pic is the second feature from Kidd, who directed indie comedy “Roger Dodger.”

Based on the novel by Helen Schulman, the contemporary New York fairy tale centers on the divorced dean of admissions at Columbia U. (Linney). She’s given a second chance at first love with a man 15 years younger (Grace), who may be the reincarnation of her high school sweetheart.

“P.S.” marks the second teaming of Linney with Hart Sharp after the thesp’s Oscar-nominated turn in “You Can Count on Me.”

Announced jointly by Newmarket Films partners William Tyrer, Chris Ball and Bob Berney, acquisition was negotiated by Newmarket Films partners William Tyrer and Bob Berney with John Sloss of Cinetic Media and Hart Sharp chief operating officer Michael Hogan.

Berney said the filmmakers hope to premiere at the key fall festivals and follow with a mid-October release.

Pic was produced by Robert Kessel, John Hart and Jeffrey Sharp, with Kidd’s production partner Anne Chaisson of Dirty Rice. Exec producers were Hogan, Wouter Barendrecht and Michael Werner, with Nina Wolarsky as associate producer. Fortissimo Films is handling international sales.

Next Hart Sharp feature to hit theaters will be Michael Mayer’s “A Home at the End of the World,” starring Colin Farrell. Pic opens in July as the debut release from the new Warner Independent Pictures specialty banner.

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