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Sony Classics near ‘Hysteria’

Company negotiates for domestic rights to Victorian romcom

Sony Pictures Classics is in negotiations to acquire domestic rights to the romantic comedy “Hysteria,” centered on the invention of the vibrator in Victorian-era England.

“Hysteria” premiered on Sept. 15 at Toronto Intl. Film Festival following several press and industry showings. If Sony Classics closes the deal, it would be the first TIFF title that it has acquired.

Cassian Elwes, who’s handling the U.S. sale, confirmed the negotiations Friday. Elle Driver is handling foreign sales

IFC, Samuel Goldwyn and Millienium Entertainment have also been bidding on “Hysteria,” starring Hugh Dancy, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jonathan Pryce, Felicity Jones and Rupert Everett. Pic, penned by Stephen Dyer and Jonah Lisa Dyer, is directed by Tanya Wexler.

“Hysteria” is produced by Informant Media and Forthcoming Films in association with Beachfront Films and Chimera Films. Producers are Sarah Curtis, Judy Cairo, Tracey Becker. Exec producers are Michael A. Simpsons, Eric Brenner, Ken Atchity, Sandra Siegel, Leo Joseph, Nathalie Joseph, Mark Kress, Hakan Kousetta, Claudia Blumhuber, Florian Dargel, Peter Fudakowski and Stephen Dyer.

Dancy and Pryce star as doctors in London treating cases of hysteria, a condition said to be characterized at the time by a woman’s irritability, anger or unexplained tears. Dancy’s character and his best friend, portrayed by Everett, experiment with a new electrical device for treatment for the ailment. Gyllenhaal portrays the daughter of Pryce’s character.

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