Sony stops at 'Station,' Strand takes 'Rabe'

Two German dramas find a North American home

COLOGNE, Germany -- Sony Pictures Classics has grabbed North and Latin American rights to Michael Hoffmann's historical drama "The Last Station," starring Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer, James McAvoy and Paul Giamatti from Robbie Little's The Little Film Company.

The drama, based on the 1990 novel by Jay Parini, premiered at Teluride and is the story of a young intellectual (McAvoy) who visits the aging Russian author Leo Tolstoy (Plummer) only to become entangled in a battle over his literary legacy. Mirren stars as Tolstoy's conniving wife, Countess Sofya. Ann-Marie Duff also stars, playing Tolstoy's youngest daughter Sasha.

"The Last Station" was produced by Germany's Egoli Tossell Film Halle in co-production with SamFilm and Russia's Andrei Konchalovsky Production Center. Jens Meurer, Chris Curling and Bonnie Arnold produced with Andrei Konchalovsky acting as executive producer.

In a separate domestic deal, Strand Releasing has acquired U.S. rights to German Film Award winner "John Rabe," from Beta Cinema. The real-life drama, directed by Florian Gallenberger and starring Ulrich Tukur, tells the story of the German business man Rabe who, in 1937, helped save hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians in Nanking from slaughter by the invading Japanese army.