Cannes: Sony Pictures Classics Nabs Paul Verhoeven’s 'Elle'

Elle - H 2016
Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

Written by David Birke and based on Philippe Djian’s novel 'Oh ...,' the film will screen in competition at the festival.

Sony Pictures Classics has acquired rights in North America and other key territories to Paul Verhoeven’s Elle.

Written by David Birke and based on Philippe Djian’s novel Oh ..., the film will screen in competition at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.

Sony Pictures Classics also picked up Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe (excluding Russia) and Asia (excluding China and Japan) to the film that stars Isabelle Huppert, Laurent Lafitte, Charles Berling, Virginie Efira and Anne Consigny.

The Elle deal marks the second significant domestic deal of the festival, following Amazon Studios scooping up North American rights to Mike Leigh's historical drama Peterloo.

It is produced by Said Ben Said of SBS Productions and Michel Merkt France 2 Cinémas co-produced.

SBS International is handling sales at the Cannes market.

The story centers on Michele (Huppert), who seems indestructible. Head of a leading video game company, she brings the same ruthless attitude to her love life as to business. Being attacked in her home by an unknown assailant changes Michele's life forever. When she resolutely tracks the man down, they are both drawn into a curious and thrilling game that may, at any moment, spiral out of control.

Elle marks the second film between Ben Said and Sony Pictures Classics, having previously worked together on Roman Polanski’s Carnage. It is also the second film between Sony Pictures Classics and Verhoeven, after working together on Black Book.

“This thriller is Paul Verhoeven at his very best and Isabelle Huppert gives the performance of a lifetime," SPC co-presidents Michael Barker and Tom Bernard said in a statement. "Elle promises to be a hit with audiences this fall. We are pleased to be working again with Paul, Isabelle and Saïd.”

Added Verhoeven: "Sony has always been my home in the U.S., and I'm excited that Sony Classics will take care of Elle with the wonderful actress Isabelle Huppert. I'm pleased that even my European films have ended up with them."