'Wild' Director Sets Next Film at Fox Searchlight (Exclusive)

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Naomi Watts, Jake Gyllenhaal

Jean-Marc Vallee directs Jake Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watts in 'Demolition'

Fox Searchlight is closing in on a deal to buy U.S. rights to Demolition, reuniting the specialty division with Wild director Jean-Marc Vallee.

Sources say Demolition, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watts, sparked heated interest among U.S. buyers, with Searchlight emerging the victor. It's the latest example of a high-profile indie project selling before it is completed (the movie is currently in production). Chris Cooper also stars.

Read more Q&A: Jean-Marc Vallee

Based on a Black List script by Bryan Sipe, Demolition centers on an investment banker (Gyllenhaal) who finds himself in emotional turmoil after the death of his wife. He begins to rip apart his life to investigate where he went wrong but then meets a single mom (Watts) who rescues him from his darkness.

"I'm thrilled and excited to be back in business with Fox Searchlight," Vallee told The Hollywood Reporter. "They have been wonderful, creative partners on Wild. I look forward to collaborating again on Demolition."

Sources say that Fox will also distribute the film in the UK, Australia, France and Germany. Sierra/Affinity will be selling the balance of the territories.

CAA is representing U.S. rights to the film. Mr. Mudd was the original producer on Demolition, with CAA helping to bring aboard Black Label Media and Sidney Kimmel to finance.

Read more Toronto: 'Wild' Director Jean-Marc Vallee on Directing Reese Witherspoon, Oscar Buzz and Feeling Like a Kid 'With a Camera'

The deal for the movie comes as Searchlight prepares to release Vallee's Wild on Dec. 5, a year after the filmmaker's Dallas Buyers Club turned into a box-office hit for Focus Features and a leading awards player. Vallee is back in the awards race this year with Wild.

Demolition producers are Molly Smith, Trent Luckinbill, Lianne Halfon, Russell Smith and Sidney Kimmel. Executive producers include Thad Luckinbill, John Malkovich, Nathan Ross, Jason Reitman, Helen Estabrook and Carla Hacken.

Oct. 21 3:50: Updated with territory information.