Toronto: Natalie Portman Biopic 'Jackie' Nabbed by Fox Searchlight

The deal marks the first significant sale of a finished film at the festival.

Fox Searchlight has acquired U.S. rights to Jackie, which sees Natalie Portman star as former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

In an otherwise sleepy Toronto market, the deal marks the first significant sale of a finished film. Searchlight will release the historical drama on Dec. 9, giving it a prime awards-season berth.

Jackie, directed by Pablo Larraín, takes place in the days after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, focusing on Theodore H. White's Life magazine interview with the widow at Hyannis Port.

Noah Oppenheim wrote the original script, which won best screenplay at this year’s Venice Film Festival.

“Pablo Larraín’s Jackie is a daring, one-of-a-kind cinematic portrayal of a beloved icon," said Searchlight presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley. "Led by an indelible performance from Natalie Portman and supported by a richly talented ensemble of actors and artists, the film is one we are thrilled to bring to audiences later this year."

Larraín will now have two potential awards-season contenders this year, as The Orchard will be pushing his Neruda, which is also playing at the Toronto Film Festival, in the foreign-language category.

Added Larraín: “[Searchlight's] movies have been an important influence on me as a filmmaker, and it is a personal achievement for me to have them bring this very special story of a beautiful, sophisticated and mysterious woman to the world. Jackie was the most unknown of the known women of the 20th century.”

Darren Aronofsky produced Jackie along with Juan de Dios Larraín, Mickey Liddell, Scott Franklin and Ari Handel. Pete Shilaimon, Jennifer Monroe, Jayne Hong, Wei Han, Lin Qi, Josh Stern executive produced.

The film made its North American premiere in the Platform section of the festival. 

Searchlight had first and last rights to negotiate on the film, which was repped by CAA.

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