TIFF: Paramount Buys Meryl Streep's 'Florence Foster Jenkins'

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Stephen Frears directs the film about the New York heiress and socialite who pursued her dream of becoming an opera singer.

Paramount has nabbed Stephen Frears' Florence Foster Jenkins starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant. Promo footage for the project screened to buyers Friday at TIFF.

The Pathe and BBC film, now in post, is helmed by Frears from a screenplay by Nicholas Martin. Paramount will distribute the film in the U.S. (a source say the studio plans to release it in 2016), and Pathe will release the film in the U.K. and France.

The project is the true story of Florence Foster Jenkins (Streep), a New York heiress and socialite who pursued her dream of becoming a great opera singer. The voice she heard in her head was beautiful, but to everyone else it was hilariously awful. Her “husband” and manager, St. Clair Bayfield (Grant), an aristocratic English actor, was determined to protect his beloved Florence from the truth. But when Florence decided to give a public concert at Carnegie Hall in 1944, St. Clair knew he faced his greatest challenge.

Simon Helberg, Rebecca Ferguson and Nina Arianda also star in the film, which is produced by Michael Kuhn for Qwerty Films and Tracey Seaward and executive produced by Pathe’s Cameron McCracken, BBC Films’ Christine Langan and Qwerty’s Malcolm Ritchie.

Muriel Sauzay, head of international sales, and Cameron McCracken, managing director of Pathe U.K., negotiated the deal on behalf of Pathe. The studio’s negotiating team was led by Paramount senior vp acquisitions and production Eben Davidson and David Miercort, senior vp business affairs.

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