Biopics in fold at Weinsteins, SPC


A young John Lennon and a young Coco Chanel are on their way to movie screens in the U.S.

The Weinstein Co. has acquired a host of rights for "Nowhere Boy," the story of Lennon's tumultuous childhood. And Sony Pictures Classics has picked up U.S. rights to "Coco Before Chanel," a portrait of French designer Coco Chanel that stars Audrey Tautou.

The Weinsteins have secured U.S., Latin American and German rights to "Nowhere" from producer Ecosse Films. The film, with its titular allusion to the Beatles song "Nowhere Man," looks at a battle between Lennon's aunt and mother for custody and affections of the young musician.

Sam Taylor-Wood is directing, and Matt Greenhalgh wrote the script. Greenhalgh penned "Control," the story of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis, which TWC also released.

Aaron Johnson plays Lennon as a young man, with Kristin Scott Thomas playing his polarizing Aunt Mimi, who begins raising him until his mother re-enters the picture. Production is under way.

TWC is touting the movie as its first acquisition since Tom Ortenberg arrived. The Lionsgate veteran joined this year as president of theatrical films.

HanWay Films repped the filmmakers.

Directed by Anne Fontaine, "Coco" looks at the early life of the French couturier and style icon. Shot in Paris and Normandy, the French-language feature was written by Anne Fontaine and Camille Fontaine in collaboration with Christopher Hampton and is based loosely on Edmonde Charles-Roux's "L'irreguliere" as it traces Chanel's journey from orphan to fashion legend. The Maison Chanel and designer Karl Lagerfeld provided the production access to their archives and collections.

A co-production of Haut et Court, Cine@, Warner Bros. France and Films Distribution, the film was produced by Philippe Carcassonne, Caroline Benjo and Carole Scotta and will be released by Warners in France on April 22. Warners also is handling its release in Latin America, Spain, Germany, Italy, Japan and Australia.

In other indie news, Oscilloscope Laboratories said it has acquired North American rights to Gabriel Medina's "The Paranoids," a comedy about a writer in Buenos Aires who learns his best friend has produced a TV show based on the scribe's life.

The film premiered Monday at SXSW, and the firm run by Beastie Boy Adam Yauch and ThinkFilm veteran David Fenkel said it will open the movie in the fall.

Meanwhile, former ThinkFilm topper Mark Urman said his new place of business, Senator Entertainment, has acquired North American rights to a festival picture as well. The banner, which Urman runs with Marco Weber, acquired the family drama "The Greatest," which played this year's Sundance Film Festival.

Pierce Brosnan and Susan Sarandon star in the pic, which revolves around a couple whose son dies and learns that the girlfriend he left behind is pregnant. Up-and-comer Shana Feste wrote and directed the drama, and CAA and Endeavor repped the filmmakers. (partialdiff)