CANNES: Weinstein Company Teams with ‘King’s Speech’ Producers for ‘Lion’

The Weinstein Company has closed a $12 million deal for worldwide rights for “Lion,” a movie based on Saroo Brierley’s book “A Long Way Home.”

Production will start in August on “Lion,” which recounts the survival of a five-year-old Indian boy who takes a wrong train and winds up thousands of miles away from home and family.

“Lion” will be produced by See-Saw Films in association with Sunstar Entertainment and Aquarius Films. Producers are Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Angie Fielder; Andrew Fraser and Shahen Mekertichian are exec producing.

Sherman and Canning teamed with TWC’s Harvey Weinstein on 2010’s “The King’s Speech.” Garth Davis (“Top of the Lake”) will direct from a script by Luke Davies.

The film is co-financed by Screen Australia. The TWC deal excludes Australia and New Zealand.

Brierly’s book recounts his family in India being thrown into poverty by his father leaving his mother in the mid 1980s. At the age of five, he was separated from his family after he and his older brothers began begging at the railway station for food and money.

He wound up on the streets of Calcutta, where he was eventually rescued and adopted by an Australian family. Brierly learned English and grew up as a typical Australian but decided as an adult — using Google Earth and only a few faint clues — to try tracking down his mother and was reunited with her in 2011.

Brierly’s ordeal was the subject of a “60 Minutes” story last year.

“When we read the script we were simply blown away by this emotional story,” Harvey Weinstein said in a statement. “Coupled with the fact this project gave us the opportunity to continue our relationship with See-Saw we jumped at the chance to join the ‘Lion’ team. Iain and Emile have this innate ability to make films that inspire and resonate with people. I look forward to sharing this fascinating and life affirming story with audiences all over the world.”

TWC and See-Saw are also collaborating on “Tracks” and “Macbeth.”

David Glasser, Robert Walak, Dan Guando, Negeen Yazdi and Michal Steinberg negotiated on behalf of TWC. Craig Emanuel of Loeb and Loeb represented the deal on behalf of Cross City Sales and the producers.

Garth Davis and Luke Davies are repped by UTA.

News that the deal was in negotiations was first reported by Deadline.com.

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