Julian Schnabel’s Van Gogh Drama ‘At Eternity’s Gate’ Sells to CBS Films

CBS Films has acquired U.S. distribution rights to “At Eternity’s Gate,” the new film from fine artist and director Julian Schnabel that was for sale at this year’s Cannes.

The deal was for $1.75 million and the picture will star Willem Dafoe, fresh off an Oscar-nominated turn in “The Florida Project,” as Vincent Van Gogh. Oscar Isaacs (“Ex Machina”), Rupert Friend (“Homeland”) and Mads Mikkelsen (“Valhalla Rising”) round out the cast. A 2018 release is planned, with CBS Films positioning “At Eternity’s Gate” as an awards contender.

Schnabel hasn’t made a film since 2010’s “Miral,” a coming of age drama about a Palestinian girl that received a tepid critical response and withering box office returns. He fared much better with 2007’s “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” and 2000’s “Before Night Falls,” both of which scored Oscar nominations and rave reviews.

Schnabel is an eccentric figure, often pajama clad, who, when not making life hell for West Village neighborhood associations, can sell his work for millions of dollars. Lives of tortured artists, be they Reinaldo Arenas or the famous Dutch impressionist to be played by Dafoe, seem to be what draws him back behind the camera.

“Julian Schnabel’s work as filmmaker speaks for itself and his success as an artist of many disciplines makes him uniquely qualified to tell the story Vincent van Gogh,” commented CBS Films President Terry Press who continued, “we look forward to working with him to bring audiences this riveting exploration of art, genius and legacy.”

Van Gogh has frequently been portrayed on screen over the decades, with the likes of Kirk Douglas (“Lust for Life”), Tim Roth (“Vincent & Theo”), and Benedict Cumberbatch (“Van Gogh: Painted with Words”) all putting their own spin on the painter.

CBS Films Executive Vice President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions Scott Shooman handled negotiations for “At Eternity’s Gate” and will oversee the project on behalf of the studio. CAA Media Finance brokered the deal on behalf of the filmmakers. Rocket Science is handling international sales for the film which was financed by SPK Pictures and Riverstone Pictures.

Deadline first reported the sale.

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