In 2007, Steve Coogan starred in and Andrew Fleming directed the offbeat comedy “Hamlet 2” — a film most remembered for a Sundance bidding war won by Focus Features, which didn’t come close to recouping its $10 million payout at the box office. But the indie market has a short memory, and Coogan is starring in another Fleming pic, backed by a pair of eager Canadian financers.
Coogan stars with Paul Rudd in “Ideal Home,” which is going into production on May 11 — the opening day of Cannes. They play a bickering couple with an extravagant life: Coogan is a demanding celebrity and Rudd his quieter partner. Their lives are turned upside-down when, at a dinner party, Coogan’s character is confronted with the grandson he never knew he had. With nowhere else to go, the couple reluctantly decide to take him in.
It’s a story rich with situations that reflect the zeitgeist. Clark Peterson’s Montreal-based Remstar Films and National Bank of Canada are co-financing the film, which carries a price tag of under $10 million with Peterson producing and National Bank’s Lisa Wolofsky exec producing. Producers are Gabriella Tana, Maria Theresa Arida, Maxime Remillard and Aaron Ryder, who was a producer on “Hamlet 2.”
Nadine de Barros’ Fortitude Intl. began selling foreign markets at Berlin and will continue do so at Cannes.
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The project has come together with a fair amount of speed for a movie that’s financed independently. More often, progress to shooting can take the better part of a decade, such as for Oscar best picture winner “Spotlight,” which producers Nicole Rocklin and Blye Faust began putting together in 2007.
Both Peterson and Wolofsky are gushing over the prospects. Peterson notes that “An Ideal Home” is the first of more than 200 projects he’d examined to get financing from year-old Remstar.
“It checks a lot of the boxes for us — great stars, great script, a lot of heart,” he notes. “When you tell people about it, they start laughing and say, ‘I would pay money to see that.’ You know that when you have a banker like Lisa saying she’s passionate about it, you’ve got something special.”
Wolofsky points out that National Bank of Canada has invested in “Ideal Home” with not just mezzanine financing, but revenue participation.
“We only do that maybe once a year,” she adds. “It struck me immediately as something we wanted to do because I love comedies, and this one made me laugh out loud. We’re very comfortable about this project.”
UTA also raised financing and is selling the domestic rights.