One of the most anticipated titles for the upcoming Toronto Film Festival will distribute with Sony Pictures Classics, according to Deadline. “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool,” a study of actor Gloria Grahame’s life, features Annette Bening (“The Kids Are All Right”) as the Hollywood star. There’s already whispers that Bening could be a major contender during this year’s awards season, and it looks like Sony Pictures Classics wants to capitalize on the buzz. According to Deadline, the deal will be inked before the festival, and Sony Pictures Classics will be paying around $2 million for the North American rights, plus a few other regions.
Grahame was a Hollywood icon, best known for her Oscar-winning performance in “The Bad and The Beautiful” and her marriage to Nicholas Ray, who directed “Rebel Without A Cause.” She was also known for her roles in “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Oklahoma!” The new biopic focuses on Grahame’s life after Hollywood no longer wanted to hire Grahame, and she was forced to move her and her four children to England, where she performed in various dinner theaters.
Romance brews in the film as Grahame begins seeing a 20-something man, played by Jamie Bell (“TURN: Washington’s Spies”); Grahame made headlines in real life when she married her former stepson Anthony Ray, who she’d been sleeping with during her marriage to the elder Ray. The film also features Julie Walters (“Harry Potter” series), Vanessa Redgrave (“Call The Midwife”), and Kenneth Cranham (“Maleficent”), among others.
“Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool” is an adaptation of Peter Turner’s memoir of the same name, which detailed his affair with Grahame and her later years. Matt Greenhalgh (“Nowhere Boy”) wrote the screenplay. Paul McGuigan (“Lucky Number Slevin”) directed the film, with Barbara Broccoli (“Spectre”) and Colin Vaines (“My Week With Marilyn”) producing. The film is a pet project of Broccoli’s, who helped develop the dramatic biopic over the past several years.