Universal has picked up U.S. rights to “355,” a buzzy spy thriller with Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, and Fan Bingbing, out of this year’s Cannes Film Festival market, Variety has confirmed. The deal cost more than $20 million. The producers will now sell other markets in order to finance the roughly $75 million budget.
Simon Kinberg will direct the project, which was seen as one of the most commercial titles for sale in the South of France this week. The bidding was said to be competitive, with several other studios circling the film. Producers of the movie had the actresses appear for a photo-shoot at Hotel Barrière le Majestic Cannes and also offered up a closed-to-press pitch to buyers (a correspondent for Vanity Fair got the heave-ho after managing to get a seat inside).
Kinberg and Chastain worked together on the upcoming “X-Men: Dark Phoenix.” Theresa Rebeck, from NBC’s “Smash” and the play “Dead Accounts,” wrote the script for “355.”
Freckle Films’ Chastain and Kelly Carmichael will produce alongside Kinberg’s Kinberg Genre.
Rebeck is represented by ICM Partners and Manage-Ment; Kinberg is represented by CAA and attorney Karl Austen; Chastain is represented by CAA, Mosaic, and Hansen Jacobson; Cotillard is represented by CAA and Adequat; Cruz is represented by CAA, Untitled, and Kuranda Management; Bingbing is represented by CAA; and Nyong’o is represented by CAA and Del Shaw.
Deadline first reported the sale. CAA Film Finance, which also represents the Chinese distribution rights, brokered the deal on behalf of the filmmakers. FilmNation Entertainment is handling international sales.