Back in June of this year, we brought you the wonderful news that Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day Lewis would be collaborating once more on a new, untitled, and intriguing film. Now, word out of the ongoing Toronto International Film Festival has the picture landing at Focus Features after a healthy bidding war between Focus and Fox Searchlight. Focus will handle domestic distribution with Universal Pictures distributing internationally; Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures is producing the movie, with Anderson and JoAnne Sellar producing through his Ghoulardi Film Company. And though no title has been assigned to the sure-to-be awards contender just yet, with a distribution deal in place, the film is now slated to start production in January with an eye on a late 2017 release.
Focus Features outlasted Fox Searchlight to pick up PTA and DDL’s reunion piece, their first collaboration since the 2007 double Oscar-winning film There Will Be Blood. The report has Focus picking up the film’s $35 million budget along with some serious back-end contributions for the writer/director and actor talent. To put that number into perspective, similar headline-grabbing acquisitions included Searchlight’s $17.5 million commitment for Nate Parker‘s The Birth of A Nation at Sundance in January, and Focus’ own $20 million tag for the Tom Ford‘s Nocturnal Animals at Cannes in 2015. Clearly, Focus is banking big on this collaboration.
Little is known about the film at the moment except to say that it will be written and directed by P.T. Anderson (obviously) and takes place in “the couture world of 1950s London.”
Day-Lewis last starred in the title role of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln and won an Oscar for his performance. Since the last go-round with Thomas Anderson earned Day-Lewis his second of three Best Actor Oscars, this new collaboration comes front-loaded with a lot of anticipation, expectation, and excitement. However, the focus is likely to be less on the actor and more on the director, who’s still looking for his first Oscar win.
Thomas Anderson has been nominated six times over the years: four writing nominations for Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Inherent Vice, and There Will Be Blood; a Best Directing nod for There Will Be Blood; and a Best Picture nom for There Will Be Blood. Clearly the joint effort of PTA and Day-Lewis drew a lot of awards attention almost a decade ago, so you can bet the buzz will be at least as much about the movie as it is about the awards potential.