Weinstein acquires John Lennon childhood biopic

The Weinstein Company (TWC) has acquired from HanWay Films all US, Latin America and German rights to Ecosse Films’ “Nowhere Boy," the John Lennon coming of age story directed by Sam Taylor-Wood, starring Aaron Johnson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Thomas Sangster, David Morrissey and Anne-Marie Duff. The announcement was made today by David Glasser, TWC’s president of international distribution, Tom Ortenberg, TWC’s president of theatrical films and Tim Haslam, CEO of HanWay Films.
 “Nowhere Boy” tells the never before seen story of John Lennon’s (Johnson) childhood. John Lennon is an ordinary fifteen year old boy on the streets of Liverpool. Funny, smart, naughty, a real edge to him. But life is not simple for John - he grew up in a family of secrets and was raised by his Aunt Mimi from the age of five. When he is suddenly reacquainted with his mother, Julia, they form an unbreakable bond. A bitter war rages between the two sisters for John's love. Faced with bringing it to an end, he learns the secret heartbreak of his past. But his mother gives him one great gift - music. A wayward boy finds his voice, and walks into The Beatles.
 "The story of John Lennon’s childhood has never been told, and now Beatles’ fans will be able to gain insight into his fascinating life,” said Ortenberg.  “Matt wrote an amazing script and Sam has brought together an incredibly talented cast.  We’re thrilled to be working with Ecosse and Film4 the latter straight off of their success of “Slumdog Millionaire” and all of the other accomplished producers on board.”
"Reading the last page of the screenplay, I knew this was a film I had to make,” said Taylor-Wood. “We've brought together a really dynamic cast and made a phenomenal start. I'm very excited."
"We are very pleased to be working with the Weinstein Company on Sam Taylor-Wood's exciting debut,” said Robert Bernstein, who is producing the film for Ecosse Films.

Principal photography started on March 8th on location in Liverpool and at Ealing Studios.  “Nowhere Boy” is an Ecosse Films productions in association with Film4, the UK Film Council’s Premiere Fund, NorthWest Vision and Media, Lip Sync Productions and Aver Media.  The script was developed with the support of the UK Film Council’s Development Fund.  The film will be produced by Bernstein and Douglas Rae for Ecosse Films (“Brideshead Revisited,” “The Waterhorse,” “Becoming Jane”) and Kevin Loader (“Venus,” “The Mother”).  Matt Greenhalgh (“Control”) is writing the screenplay that is being adapted from Julia Baird’s memoir, ‘Imagine This.’ Harvey Weinstein has always been a huge fan of Tessa Ross and FilmFour and wanted to show the company support. TWC was initially introduced to Taylor-Wood by her mentor, Anthony Minghella, who produced her debut short “Love You More,” through his TWC financed company, Mirage Enterprises.  TWC plans for a year-end release.
Rhodri Thomas and Ben Friedman from TWC’s UK office brought the project to Weinstein who fell in love with the screenplay.  David Glasser, president of international distribution, and Michal Steinberg, svp of business and legal affairs and acquisitions, negotiated on behalf of TWC and Peter Watson negotiated on behalf of HanWay Films.  This is the first acquisition made by Ortenberg and Glasser since Ortenberg’s arrival at TWC.

Peter Oberth
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