Focus Features has acquired the North American rights to director Alan Rickman’s romantic period drama A Little Chaos. The film stars Kate Winslet (Divergent) and Matthias Schoenaerts (The Drop) in the story of a woman who challenges social and sexual norms as a landscape designer hired to build one of King Louis XIV’s palace gardens at Versailles.
The film had its premiere on the closing night of the Toronto International Film Festival, and although critics weren’t particularly enamored with it, they did praise Winslet’s performance as the driving force of the film. Even so, the release date of March 27th, 2015 takes away any possibility of Winslet throwing her hat into the ring for this year’s awards race.
Rickman, whose last time behind the lens was 1997’s The Winter Guest, previously collaborated with a young Kate Winslet almost twenty years ago in Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility (1995). Rickman also acts alongside Winslet in A Little Chaos, with Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1) and Danny Webb (Locke) rounding out the supporting cast.
The purchase of A Little Chaos by Focus Features answers the question of whether the distributor would continue the habit of acquiring the sort of art-house material that they had become known for after last year’s ousting of Focus CEO James Schamus. Schamus, widely known as a champion for thoughtful, artistic films, was replaced as the head of Focus Features last year. For many, the shake-up raised questions of whether Focus would be as committed to the indie and foreign market as they had been in the past.