The Weinstein Co. Nearing Deal to Keep 'Grace of Monaco' (Exclusive)
With the May 14 Grace of Monaco premiere at the Cannes Film Festival looming, Harvey Weinstein has decided to keep the biopic of the late Princess Grace after all. The Weinstein Co. is in final negotiations to retain U.S. distribution rights to the film that has sparked more headlines than any other Cannes title this year.
The move comes after months of public feuding between Weinstein and the film's director, Olivier Dahan, and producer Pierre-Ange Le Pogam over the tone of the film. Weinstein was looking for a breezier rendition, while Dahan's version painted a darker, more cautionary tale.
In recent weeks, The Weinstein Co. has been trying to renegotiate the $5 million fee it was originally set to pay the film's India-based financier Yash Raj Films to distribute Grace of Monaco in the United States. TWC believed the filmmakers breached their contract by not submitting a completed film as stipulated and was looking to reduce the fee to $3 million or walk away. TWC also was demanding a new version of the Nicole Kidman starrer that incorporated Weinstein's notes.
CAA, which reps the filmmakers and Kidman, had been working to broker a resolution before the festival. TWC's decision to keep the film is just the latest twist in what has been an ugly war of words between the French auteur (who also directed La vie en rose) and the mogul. In October, Dahan was quoted in the French newspaper Liberation saying that he would fight to keep his version of the picture. “It’s right to struggle, but when you confront an American distributor like Weinstein, not to name names, there is not much you can do,” he said at the time. “Either you say, ‘Go figure it out with your pile of shit’ or you brace yourself so the blackmail isn’t as violent.”
In January, The Weinstein Co. took the biopic of actress-turned-princess Grace Kelly, who died in a car accident at the age of 52, off of its schedule. Weinstein was taken off guard when, the following day, the film was selected as the opening night film of Cannes (the festival will play Dahan's cut).
Grace of Monaco, which also stars Tim Roth as Prince Rainier III, was originally set to open in late November 2013 for an awards-season push, but The Weinstein Co. pushed back the release to March 14, saying it wouldn't be ready in time. It is currently undated.
Further stoking the flames of controversy, the Monaco royal family blasted the movie, calling it "totally fictional" and based on inaccurate and dubious information.