Perhaps the biggest sale yet of the just-stared 2015 Toronto Film Festival occurred for a film not even screening at the festival. Paramount Pictures has acquired the comedy-drama Florence Foster Jenkins, a film starring 3-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady) directed by Oscar nominated filmmaker Stephen Frears (The Queen). The film, currently still in post-production, showcased promo footage at TIFF for buyers on Friday evening.
The film tells the true story of New York heiress Florence Foster Jenkins (Streep) who had desires of being an opera singer. The one hitch- her voice is awful. Hugh Grant (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) portrays St. Clair Bayfield, Jenkin’s manager and ‘husband,” who attempts to shield Jenkins from the truth of her terrible singing voice. That was threatened when Jenkins decided to hold a public concert at Carnegie Hall in 1944. Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation), Nina Arianda (Midnight in Paris) and Simon Helburg (The Big Bang Theory) co-star. First time feature scribe Nicholas Martin wrote the screenplay.
Streep, who recently earned her 19th Oscar nomination for the musical Into the Woods, can currently be seen in theaters in Ricki and the Flash. The actress will next appear in Suffragette. The always prolific Frears last directed the Oscar-nominated drama Philomena and currently has his Lance Armstrong bio The Program set to premiere at Toronto. Florence Foster Jenkins began production this past May.
While unknown as of now, the film (a co-production of Pathe and BBC Films) is expected for release sometime in 2016, with Paramount potentially shaping the movie for an awards run. The footage shown at TIFF was said to likely appeal mostly to an older demographic, something that might help the title considering the strong showing this past year of older-skewing titles like I’ll See You In My Dreams and Grandma.