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In recent days, reports surfaced that Will Ferrell would star in Reagan, a comedy about what happens when the president shows signs of dementia. News of the project sparked an immediate backlash, prompting Ferrell to pull out. The drama comes just days before the Cannes Film Market gets underway, where producers and agents look for financing for indie films by selling off foreign rights and, in some cases, securing a U.S. deal. It’s not clear whether Reagan was headed for Cannes, but it has all the hallmarks of a project ripe for the indie world: a controversial storyline that might scare off Hollywood studios and a top actor sure to impress international buyers. Either way, Ferrell’s exit underscores the increasing difficulty agents face in closing talent deals in time for Cannes. “It’s the nature of the business that packages are often finalized only days before Cannes begins,” says Micah Green, cohead of CAA’s film finance and sales group. “It makes for an intense few weeks. We do think it will pay off with a very active market on the ground.”
U.S. buyers and the major studios will continue to prowl Cannes’ market looking to prebuy a project that’s at script stage or in preproduction versus waiting for a finished film (in February, Paramount forked over $10 million for the George Clooney starrer Suburbicon at the Berlin market), raising the stakes for foreign and domestic agents scrambling to get packages together in the hope of a busy market. THR got the goods on 10 titles sure to generate interest.
Pamela McClintock and Tatiana Siegel contributed to this report.
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