Fox Searchlight gets into the Dakota Johnson business with 'A Bigger Splash'

Posted by · 11:02 am · February 19th, 2015

Fox Searchlight's amazing run doesn't appear as though it will be ending anytime soon. The mini-major may be on the verge of going back-to-back with Best Picture winners if “Birdman” takes it on Sunday, after already ending 2014 with hits “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (also nine Oscar nominations), “Wild,” “Belle” and “The Drop.” Searchlight also left Sundance in January with two of the most buzzed-about titles, Grand Jury and Audience Award winner “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” and potential awards season player “Brooklyn.” Today, the distributor announced they had acquired U.S. rights to Luca Guadagnino's “A Bigger Splash.”

Guadagnino is best known for 2009's critically acclaimed drama “I Am Love,” and “Splash” reunites him with that film's star, Tilda Swinton. “Splash” also features a reunion of “Budapest” co-stars Swinton and Ralph Fiennes. Searchlight may have also jumped on securing only domestic rights for the thriller (not ideal) as the cast is rounded out by none other than “Fifty Shades of Grey” breakout Dakota Johnson. (Oh, and Matthias Schoenaerts, too.)

In a release from the studio, Searchlight Presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley remarked, “The film is a rich and enigmatic thriller and we look forward to bringing Luca”s vision to American audiences later this year. And we have the added joy of working with old friends – Ralph, Tilda, and Matthias.”

You can read into the “later this year” mention that Searchlight clearly thinks “Splash” could be a film that enters the awards conversation. They won't say it publicly, but if you've seen “I Am Love” you are very aware Guadagino is something of a visionary and Searchlight has had a good amount of luck with those types of filmmakers over the years.

Guadagino added, “I am honored that Fox Searchlight has chosen to distribute 'A Bigger Splash' in the states. Tilda, Dakota, Ralph, and Matthias together with the rest of our cast have brought to life what we feel and hope will be an unforgettable movie-going experience based on the brilliant script by Dave Kajganich.”

The film's official synopsis notes that “A Bigger Splash” focuses on “a high profile couple, a famous rock star and a filmmaker (Schoenaerts and Swinton), vacationing and recovering on the idyllic sun-drenched and remote Italian island of Pantelleria” whose lives “are disrupted by the unexpected visit of an old friend and his daughter (Fiennes and Johnson), creating a whirlwind of jealousy, passion and ultimate danger for everyone involved.”

Again, no word on an official release date, but a Venice Film Festival debut seems likely, although a Cannes premiere isn't out of the question either.

If you've never seen “I Am Love” enjoy a few bites of Guadagnino's talents in the trailer below.


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