Sony Pictures Classics Comes Down with HYSTERIA Starring Maggie Gyllenhaal

     November 10, 2011


This one’s for the ladies: Hysteria, the Tanya Wexler-directed picture starring Oscar-nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal, has sold its US and South African rights to Sony Pictures Classics. The romantic comedy is based on the historically (and hysterically) accurate tale of Dr. Joseph Mortimer Granville’s invention of the first vibrator, all in the name of medical science. The heart of the film is about the realization that everyone is in control of their own happiness.

Written by Stephen Dyer and Jonah Lisa Dyer, and produced by the all-female trio of Sarah Curtis, Judy Cairo and Tracey Becker, Hysteria also stars Hugh Dancy, Jonathan Pryce, Rupert Everett and Felicity Jones. Hit the jump for more on Hysteria.

hysteria-movie-image-hugh-dancy-rupert-everett-01Our own Matt Goldberg reviewed Hysteria at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, although I doubt his comment of “inarguably the best movie you’ll see all year featuring Jonathan Pryce fingerblasting an old lady” will make it into their promos. My research for this article dredged up some useless but fun facts about the invention of the vibrator, such as:

  • It became the fifth domestic appliance to be electrified (after the sewing machine, fan, tea kettle and toaster)
  • It was originally used by doctors for “pelvic massage” to facilitate achieving “hysterical paroxysm” to cure “female hysteria”
  • In pure, Victorian steampunk fashion, there was an early steam-powered model dubbed the “Manipulator.”

Gentlemen, this might be one romantic comedy you allow your significant others to drag you to.  Check out the press release for Hysteria down below:


NEW YORK (November 10, 2011) – Sony Pictures Classics announced today that they have acquired all US and South African rights to HYSTERIA.  The film is directed by Tanya Wexler from a script by the team of Stephen Dyer and Jonah Lisa Dyer.  A trio of women produced HYSTERIA- Forthcoming Films’ Sarah Curtis (MANSFIELD PARK, HER MAJESTY MRS. BROWN), Informant Media’s Judy Cairo (CRAZY HEART), and Beachfront Films’ Tracey Becker (FINDING NEVERLAND).

The film stars Academy Award® nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal (CRAZY HEART, NANNY MCPHEE RETURNS) and Hugh Dancy (ADAM, CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC) alongside Jonathan Pryce, Rupert Everett, and Felicity Jones and had its World Premiere at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.

HYSTERIA, a mischievously inspired romantic comedy, is based on the surprising truth of how Mortimer Granville came up with the world’s first electro-mechanical vibrator in the name of medical science.

“HYSTERIA is meant to be both funny and smart. It’s really a movie that says you are in charge of your own happiness,” says Director Wexler. “Sony Classics is the perfect company to unleash HYSTERIA into American movie theatres. They understand ‘smart and funny’ movies better than anyone else out there. They are just what the doctor ordered.”

“HYSTERIA is a winner on all counts. It is funny, fresh and warm. From director Tanya Wexler’s expert filmmaking to her accomplished production team (sets, costumes and cinematography are all impressive) to the great performances from the entire cast (Maggie Gyllenhal is at an all-time career best here), this is a movie audiences will embrace in a major way,” says Sony Pictures Classics.

The deal was negotiated by Cassian Elwes, with Elsa Ramo representing the producers.

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