Fabien Westerhoff’s Film Constellation has acquired international rights to New York-set romantic comedy “Permission,” starring Rebecca Hall and Dan Stevens, and written and directed by Brian Crano. Film Constellation will show first footage from the movie (exclusive image, above) to buyers at next month’s European Film Market in Berlin.
The film focuses on Anna (Hall) and Will (Stevens), who are each other’s first everything: first kiss, first love, first and only relationship. As Will is about to propose, their best friend suggests they should date other people before spending the rest of their life with each other, leading the duo on an unexpected romantic journey.
Speaking to Variety, Hall said that she and Crano have been friends since she was 19. “He has always been a very precocious talent,” Hall recalled. “I met him when he was doing a rehearsed reading of his play in a West End theater when he was 18, and he has been an important person in my life since then.”
She appeared in a couple of his short films and his first feature, “A Bag of Hammers.” “Then he had this script, and we were thinking about doing something together, and it seemed quite straightforward that this would be not only a worthwhile collaboration creatively, but also fun to try to make something happen that I’d produce, and [that] we could make in New York, where we live,” she said. “So it was a happy conflation of all of those things.”
It’s the first time that Hall has produced a film. “I definitely learned a lot in the process, and I’m glad that I understand more about getting a film off the ground,” she said. “It felt very rewarding to get it done and be around for the raising of the money, the location scouting and the casting, all of which was really eye-opening for me.”
“Permission” represents a return to the comedy-drama genre of the early movies of Hall’s career, such as Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” for which she was Golden Globe-nominated, and Nicole Holofcener’s “Please Give.” It also represents a change in tone from the hard-hitting dramas she has appeared in recently, including Antonio Campos’ “Christine” and Oren Moverman’s “The Dinner,” which premieres at the Berlin Film Festival.
“There was a patch in my career when ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’ had just come out, and [dramedy] scripts were all that came my way, and it felt that the world of indie comedy was where I lived. And I think I have an instinct to try and buck a trend or flex a different muscle when people are trying to push me into one area,” she said. “So I had a tendency then to gravitate towards drama. I’m probably swinging back a little bit now.”
Stevens will next be seen in Disney’s live-action “Beauty & The Beast,” and in Marvel and FX’s highly anticipated show “Legion.”
Westerhoff said: “Dan Stevens and Rebecca Hall acting together in the same movie is a Valentine treat in itself. ‘Permission’ is a subversive, feminist romantic comedy that will touch audiences worldwide. We look forward to sharing first footage with buyers in Berlin.”
The cast also includes Gina Gershon, Francois Arnaud, Morgan Spector, David Joseph Craig, Sarah Steele, Raul Castillo and Jason Sudeikis.
The film is a Ball and Chain and Picture Films production, in association with Manor Film and Circadian Pictures. The producers are Margot Hand, Hall, Giri Tharan and Joshua Thurston. Erika Hampson, David Gendron, Michael Klein and Crano are the executive producers. WME is handling North American rights.
Westerhoff founded London-based Film Constellation last year. Its slate includes British comedy “Double Date,” which will be introduced to buyers at the EFM; David Lynch event documentary “The Art Life,” screening in Rotterdam; and Scandinavian horror hit “Lake Bodom.”