“Aline,” the biopic loosely based on French Canadian hitmaker Celine Dion, has been acquired by Roadside Attractions and Samuel Goldwyn Films for U.S. distribution. The critically acclaimed musical comedy-drama world premiered out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival. It will be released theatrically in the U.S. in early 2022.
Lemercier, one of France’s most popular actors and stand-up comedians, directed, co-wrote (with Brigitte But) and stars in the film as Aline Dieu, a singing prodigy (who is meant to be Celine Dion) who grew up in 1960s Quebec surrounded by her tight-knit family of 13 siblings.
When a famous producer, Guy Claude (who is meant to be René Angélil), discovers Aline and her golden voice, he sets out to make her the world’s greatest singer. The crowd-pleasing film charts Aline’s life journey from her childhood through to her sudden rise as a global superstar, showing her impressive transformation. The movie closely details Aline’s relationship with her producer and mentor, who became her husband, while showing her navigating a busy career and motherhood.
“A lot of things are invented, but I tried to be in the perfume of Celine’s life,” Lemercier told Variety in Cannes. “Nothing is against her, but some things are invented to be more cinematic and romantic sometimes.”
Lemercier stars opposite Sylvain Marcel, Danielle Fichaud, Roc Lafortune, Antoine Vézina, Pascale Desrochers and Jean-Noël Brouté. Aline’s singing voice is Victoria Sio, who was chosen among 50 singers by the Lemercier and the producers.
“Valérie’s tour de force performance as an emerging worldwide singing superstar created an enormous splash at Cannes this year, and we think American audiences will be every bit as thrilled to discover this one-of-a-kind entertainer in movie theaters early in 2022,” said Roadside and Goldwyn in a joint statement.
Alexis Cassanet, executive VP of international sales and distribution at Gaumont, said Roadside Attractions and Samuel Goldwyn Films are “two emblematic independent U.S. distributors” with an “impressive track record and many awards to their credit.” The executive described the film as a love letter to Dion.
The deal was negotiated by Cassanet and Roadside’s Howard Cohen and Goldwyn’s Peter Goldwyn.
“Aline” was produced by Édouard Weil, Alice Girard at Rectangle Productions and Sidonie Dumas at Gaumont, in association with Laurent Zeitoun (“Intouchables,” “Ballerina”). The film was co-produced by André Rouleau, Valérie d’Auteuil and Patrick Vandenbosch. De l’huile, Caramel Films and Belga Productions co-produced with the participation of Entourage Pictures, Canal Plus, TF1 and Téléfilm Canada.
Gaumont will release the film on Nov. 10 in French cinemas. (The movie was meant to have launched last year but faced delays from the closure of cinemas due to the pandemic.) With a budget in the $25 million range, “Aline” is one of the biggest and most anticipated French films slated for this year.
“Aline” marks Lemercier’s sixth directorial outing. She previously directed “ Quadrille,” “From Behind,” “Palais-Royal!,” “The Ultimate Accessories” and “50 is the new 30.” She also wrote and performed five one-woman shows, three of which won awards.
Roadside Attractions’ recent credits include the Oscar-winning “Judy” starring Renee Zellweger as Judy Garland, and “The Peanut Butter Falcon.” Samuel Goldwyn Films, meanwhile, is handling Thomas Vinterberg’s “Another Round,” which won the Oscar for best international feature film, as well as the Oscar-nominated Tunisian film “The Man Who Sold His Skin.”