PARIS — On the heels of Berlin’s EFM, Wild Bunch has locked major territory sales on Radu Mihaileanu’s sprawling saga “The History of Love” with Gemma Arterton, Derek Jacobi, Sophie Nelisse and Elliott Gould.
Spanning over six decades and unfolding across six continents, “The History of Love” is based on American novelist Nicole Krauss’ international bestseller. The love tale, which marks Mihaileanu’s English-language debut, charts the journey of Leo, an old Polish Jewish immigrant who never truly recovered from losing the great love of his life, Alma, after she emigrated with her family to the States during WWII. Now living in New York, in present times, Leo crosses paths with a teenage girl who helps him reconnect with his past through a long-lost manuscript called “The History of Love.”
Now in post, the 15 million Euros movie has been acquired by eOne (Canada), Prokino (Germany), Vertigo (Spain), BIM (Italy), Cineart (Benelux), Film Coopi (Switzerland), California Filmes (Latin America), Maintitle (South Korea), Palmera (Central America), MCF (former Yugoslavia), Lusomundo (Portugal), Feel Good (Greece).
Carole Baraton, head of international sales at Wild Bunch, said the movie was not only Mihaileanu’s English-language debut but also its most ambitious film to date. “The book was published in 38 countries, sold over 1 million units in the U.S. and earned critical acclaim worldwide, so the international potential is obviously large,” pointed out Baraton.
“We started getting buyers excited about the project last year in Cannes just with the script, and this year in Berlin, we sold it across 20 territories after unveiling an eight-minute promo that distributors found deeply moving,” said Baraton, adding that “distributors were motivated to pre-buy the movie knowing that Mihaileanu has a track record in crafting crowd-pleasers.”
Wild Bunch’s sales chief also noted the decision to shoot in English was an organic one since the novel is American; it’s also a natural endeavor for Mihaileanu: The Romanian-born French director has never shot a movie in his maternal language.
Mihaileanu is best known for directing the Golden Globe-nominated “The Concert” and “The Source,” which competed at Cannes in 2011.
Pic is produced by Marc-Antoine Robert and Xavier Rigault of Paris-based 2.4.7. Films, the company behind Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud’s “Persepolis.” Mihaileanu’s banner Oi Oi Oi Productions is co-producing.