Focus Features has bought the interracial drama “Loving,” starring Joe Edgerton, Ruth Negga and Michael Shannon, for North American and most major international territories including the U.K., Germany and Latin America.
The deal was for nearly $9 million and was announced Saturday at the Berlin Film Festival. It is the first major transaction for Focus since its Feb. 4 reorganization, which saw the exit of CEO Peter Schlessel.
Footage from the film, directed by Jeff Nichols, was shown Friday to buyers. Nichols’ “Midnight Special,” which stars Edgerton, also premiered in competition Friday at the festival.
“Loving,” financed by Big Beach and developed by Raindog Films, is directed by Nichols from his own script. It’s inspired by Nancy Buirski’s Emmy Award-winning documentary “The Loving Story” about Richard and Mildred Loving, a white man and African-American woman who fell in love and were married in 1958.
The couple was jailed by the state of Virginia, where they were making their home, and then banished from the state. The couple took the civil rights case, Loving v. Virginia, all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled in their favor.
Producers are Ged Doherty & Colin Firth (“Eye In The Sky”), Sarah Green, Buirski and Big Beach’s Marc Turtletaub & Peter Saraf. Executive producer is Brian Kavanaugh-Jones. Production companies are Big Beach and Raindog Films in association with Augusta Films and TriState Pictures.
The deal was negotiated by CAA on behalf of the filmmakers.
Negga starred in “12 Years a Slave” and “World War Z.” Shannon starred in Nichols’ “Take Shelter.”
The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.