Toronto: Weinstein buys 'Eleanor Rigby' and 'The Railway Man'

Posted by · 9:57 am · September 11th, 2013

Harvey Weinstein is busy as ever this festival season. After picking up “Tracks” during Telluride/Venice and “Can a Song Save Your Life?” at Toronto, he’s landed two more distribution deals up north as the festival begins to draw to a close.

The first is “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: His/Hers” from director Ned Benson with James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain. The film tells the story of a New York couple’s relationship from the point of view of both the husband and the wife separately, hence the subtitle.

Also today, Weinstein locked up a $2 million deal for Jonathan Teplitzky’s “The Railway Man,” with Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman. You might recall it was on our recent list of potential awards contenders that were lacking distribution. Funny that “Tracks,” too, was on that list. Does Harvey see Oscar prospects in these films? Possibly. As ever, he loads up on product and susses out what sticks and what doesn’t.

“The Railway Man” could certainly stick. Firth and Kidman (who also stars in The Weinstein Company’s “Grace of Monaco,” due out later this year) make for a compelling combination on screen. The true story of a British Army officer who is tormented at a Japanese POW camp and, decades later, confronts the Japanese interpreter responsible for the brutality, might pop up in the discussion next year. I’m not so sure about “Tracks,” though (maybe some talk for Mia Wasikowska but little else).

“Can a Song Save Your Life?” was a huge Toronto hit and “Eleanor Rigby” has its fans, too. With “August: Osage County” not exactly blowing up everyone’s skirt, you’d almost wonder if Weinstein would try and launch one of these acquisitions this year, but all will be held for 2014. He has plenty on his slate this year, though none of it has a sure path to Oscar recognition at the moment.

There are still four days left at Toronto. We’ll bring you whatever news might come as it draws to a close.

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