Sony Pictures Classics has landed rights to “The Phantom of the Open,” a heartwarming drama starring Mark Rylance, Sally Hawkins and Rhys Ifans.
Craig Roberts, known for his onscreen roles in “Submarine” and “Red Oaks,” directed the film. “Paddington 2” screenwriter Simon Farnaby adapted the screenplay from his book of the same name, which was co-authored by Scott Murray. The inspiring true story follows Maurice Flitcroft (Rylance), an unrelenting optimist who managed to gain entry to the British Open Gold Championship Qualifying in 1976 and subsequently shot the worst round in Open history, becoming a folk hero in the process.
“I’m extremely grateful that SPC share our love for Maurice and his wonderful story,” Roberts said. “They are the perfect fit for this project. I’m very proud of what our cast and crew have created. I hope that Maurice’s superpowers make the world a better place.”
Sony Pictures Classics will distribute the film in North America, Thailand, France and China.
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“We know audiences will be delighted by this underdog tale, brought to life by director Craig Roberts with the incomparable Mark Rylance and Sally Hawkins, comedic and humane, both at career peak,” a spokesperson for the studio said in a statement.
The project reunites Sony Pictures Classics with Hawkins, who previously starred in 2016’s “Maudie” and the 2013 drama “Blue Jasmine,” for which she scored an Oscar nomination. Hawkins and Roberts previously collaborated on the 2019 film “Eternal Beauty” and the 2010 coming-of-age film “Submarine.”
The film, a co-production between Water and Power Productions and Baby Cow Productions, is produced by Kate Glover, Nichola Martin, and Tom Miller. Executive producers are Christine Langan and James Swarbrick, along with Cornerstone Films’ Alison Thompson and Mark Gooder, Ingenious Media’s Peter Touche and Christelle Conan, Mary Burke for the BFI, and BBC Film’s Rose Garnett and Emma Duffy. The film was developed by the BFI, awarding funds from the National Lottery and BBC Film. Funding came from the BFI, BBC Film, and Ingenious Media.
“SPC has long been the home of the best in independent filmmaking and we couldn’t be more pleased to be teaming up with them on this on fantastic movie,” the producers said in a statement. Monteith of Baby Cow Productions adds, “SPC are the perfect partners to bring the joy of this beautifully optimistic movie to audiences around the world.”
The deal was negotiated by Cornerstone on behalf of the filmmakers.
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