Berlin 2013: Bob Berney Inks U.S. Deal for ‘The Great Gilly Hopkins’

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"My first SAG job was as Selma in 'Straight Time' with Dustin Hoffman in 1976. Warren Beatty had seen me in Vanities off-Broadway in New York and recommended me to Dustin. I met with Dustin in New York and then auditioned with him at his house in Los Angeles."

U.K. sales and finance banner WestEnd Films also boards the project, which has Kathy Bates and Danny Glover attached.

Bob Berney’s recently relaunched Picturehouse has inked a deal for U.S. rights to Stephen Herek’s The Great Gilly Hopkins, which has Oscar winner Kathy Bates and Danny Glover attached to star.

Gilly is an adaptation of Katherine Paterson's Newbery Award-winning young-adult novel about a wisecracking, gum-chewing 11-year-old who is moved from foster home to foster home, outwitting them all. When she is placed in the home of Maime Trotter (Bates), the weirdest foster mom yet, she fights her way out -- but her plan doesn't go as intended.

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Berney’s U.S. deal, struck with producer William Teitler, marks a return to the front lines for the veteran marketing and distribution executive.

Berney relaunched Picturehouse in January. The company he founded in 2005 as a joint venture with HBO Films and New Line had been shuttered by Warner Bros. in 2008.

In Berlin, the familiar face at the markets arrived with a company now boasting an exclusive, multiyear output deal with Netflix.

U.K. sales and finance banner WestEnd Films also has come aboard Hopkins to shop rights to international buyers.

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"Stephen Herek and Bill Teitler understand the importance and success of the Katherine Paterson pedigree around the world," said Berney. "The story is heartwarming and true, funny and touching. The film will register with young audiences and families because of its authentic approach to the material. We look forward to working with the creative team and WestEnd Films to make this movie a breakout success."

In January, Paterson received the 2013 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, a U.S. prize that honors authors and illustrators whose books have made a lasting contribution to children's literature.