Cannes: Sony Pictures Classics Buys Paul Verhoeven’s ‘Elle’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Elle Isabelle Huppert
Courtesy of SBS Productions

In the first major deal closed at Cannes Film Festival, Sony Pictures Classics has bought rights to Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle” for North America and a string of territories ahead of its world premiere in competition.

Deal also includes rights for Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe (excluding Russia) and Asia (excluding China and Japan).

Penned by David Birke and based on Phillipe Djian’s novel “Oh…”, the psychological thriller stars Isabelle Huppert as a powerful, ruthless business woman who survives an assault in her home. Consumed with the need for revenge, she takes it upon herself to track down her assailant.

Verhoeven is best known for his work on Hollywood blockbusters such as “Basic Instinct” and “Total Recall.” Huppert’s many credits include “The Piano Teacher” and “8 Women.”

Saïd Ben Saïd of SBS produced the film with Michel Merkt. SBS International handled sales of the film at Cannes.

The acquisition of “Elle” marks the second collaboration between Ben Saïd and Sony Pictures Classics, having previously worked together on Roman Polanski’s “Carnage.” Sony Pictures Classics previously acquired Verhoeven’s “Black Book.”

“Sony has always been my home in the US and I’m excited that Sony Classics will take care of ‘Elle’ with the wonderful actress Isabelle Huppert. I’m pleased that even my European films have ended up with them,” said Verhoeven.

“This thriller is Paul Verhoeven at his very best and Isabelle Huppert gives the performance of a lifetime. ‘Elle’ promises to be a hit with audiences this fall. We are pleased to be working again with Paul, Isabelle and Saïd,” said Sony Pictures Classics.