Sony Classics nabs Szabo’s ‘Julia’

Project reunites Serendipity Point exec with helmer

Sony Pictures Classics has acquired distribution rights in the U.S. and other key English-language territories for director Istvan Szabo’s “Being Julia,” with Annette Bening, Jeremy Irons and newcomer Shaun Evans.

Currently in pre-production with a June 16 start date, the project reteams producer and Serendipity Point Films topper Robert Lantos with the director. They previously collaborated on Ralph Fiennes starrer “Sunshine.” Ronald Harwood, who won an Oscar this year for his screenplay of Roman Polanski’s “The Pianist,” adapted the script from W. Somerset Maugham’s novel “Theatre.”

The deal marks an extension of SPC’s relationship with Serendipity following U.S. acquisition of “The Statement,” which Lantos also is producing from Harwood’s script.

Pic is now shooting in France for director Norman Jewison, starring Michael Caine, Tilda Swinton, Jeremy Northam, Alan Bates and Charlotte Rampling.

A return to the backstage setting of “The Dresser” for Harwood, “Being Julia” is a tale of amorous folly and revenge set in the London theater world in the late 1930s. Additional cast announced includes Michael Gambon, Bruce Greenwood, Juliet Stevenson, Sheila McCarthy, Maury Chaykin, Myriam Margolyes, Lucy Punch and Tom Sturridge.

In addition to U.S., SPC picked up Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., and South Africa. Following Lantos’ acquisition earlier this year of a 50% stake in ThinkFilm, the New York and Toronto-based distrib will release “Being Julia” and all other Serendipity productions in Canada. Myriad Pictures is handling sales on remaining territories and serves as U.K. co-producer.

Key crafts collaborators assembled for the project include cinematographer Lajos Koltai, Oscar-winning production designer Luciana Arrighi and costume designer John Bloomfield.

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