SPC takes 'Barney's Version' for U.S.

Film screening at both Venice, Toronto fests

TORONTO -- Making a pre-emptive move on the eve of the Toronto International Film Festival, Sony Pictures Classics has acquired U.S. rights to "Barney's Version," from Canada-based producer Robert Lantos.

Adapted by Michael Konyves from the novel by Mordecai Richler and directed by Richard J. Lewis, the film tells the story of a seemingly ordinary man, played by Paul Giamatti, whose life spans two continents and includes three wives, an outrageous father and a dangerous best friend.

The cast also includes Minnie Driver, Dustin Hoffman, Rosamund Pike, Rachelle Lefevre and Scott Speedman.

The $30-million feature, produced by Lantos' Serendipity Point Films, screens Sunday night at TIFF as a gala presentation, following its world premiere Friday at the Venice Film Festival. It will also open the Hamptons International Film Festival on Oct. 7.

SPC has distributed such previous Lantos films as "Being Julia" and "The Statement," and "Barney's" could find itself injected into awards contention if the distributor books a qualifying run stateside by the end of December.

It is being distributed in Canada by Entertainment One.

SPC issued a statement, saying, "Very rarely does a major novel come to life so completely and so richly on the screen as it does here with 'Barney's Version.' Featuring wonderful performances by Paul Giamatti, Dustin Hoffman, Rosamund Pike, and Minnie Driver, producer Robert Lantos more than fulfills his multi year dream of filming Mordecai Richler's masterpiece. We look forward to presenting the film to the American audience."
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