Focus Nabs US Rights to Edward Berger’s Papal Thriller ‘Conclave’

Based on Robert Harris’ novel, the film involves a conspiracy uncovered while selecting a new pope and stars Ralph Fiennes, Stanley Tucci and John Lithgow

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“Conclave,” the latest from Oscar-winning director Edward Berger, has been picked up for U.S. distribution by Focus Features, TheWrap has learned. Berger’s follow-up to Netflix’s “All Quiet on the Western Front” remake stars Ralph Fiennes, Stanley Tucci, John Lithgow, Carlos Diehz, Lucian Msamati, Brían F. O’Byrne, Merab Ninidze, Sergio Castellitto and Isabella Rossellini.

Based on Robert Harris’ novel, the Peter Straughan-penned film centers on a secret papal conclave as they go about electing a new Pope — and a conspiracy amid rival factions and self-serving political ambitions. Spoiler: The previous pope was hiding a secret or two.

“Twenty-seven years ago, I landed my first job as an intern at the company that later became Focus,” Berger said. “Ever since I left and embarked on the long path of making movies I have been wanting to return. To now work with Peter Kujawski and his incredibly dedicated team feels like I have arrived at a home that I’ve always missed. I am grateful and so cannot wait to share the movie with audiences in the U.S. as well as around the world at the hands of Focus and all our distribution partners.”

“Edward Berger is a devilishly talented filmmaker who made our collective hearts race by showing us what happens to our better angels in those Machiavellian halls of power,” said Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski. “We cannot wait to bring audiences to the edge of their seats with him and our friends at House Productions, Indian Paintbrush and FilmNation.”

“Conclave” will be produced by Tessa Ross and Juliette Howell for House Productions along with Michael A. Jackson for FilmNation and Robert Harris and Alice Dawson. Developed with the support of Access Entertainment, Steven Rales will serve as executive producer. FilmNation and Indian Paintbrush co-financed the thriller.

Executive producers also include Glen Basner, Alison Cohen, Milan Popelka, Ben Browning, Len Blavatnik, Danny Cohen, Zoe Edwards, Harry Dixon, Paul Randle, Tomas Alfredson, Berger, Fiennes, Straughan, Robyn Slovo, Mario Gianani and Lorenzo Gangarossa.

The U.S. sale was handled by CAA Media Finance, FilmNation Entertainment and Indian Paintbrush. Internationally, the film will be released by Elevation in Canada, Black Bear in the United Kingdom, Dea Planeta in Spain, Eagle Pictures in Italy, Edko Films in Hong Kong, Ascot Elite in Switzerland, Empire Entertainment in South Africa, Italia Films in the Middle East, Kino Film in Japan, Leonine in Germany, Lev in Israel, Nos Lusomundo in Portugal, Pioneer Films in the Philippines, PVR Pictures in India and Pakistan, Roadshow Films in Australia and New Zealand, Sam Film in Iceland, Shaw in Singapore, SND in France, Sun in LATAM, Tanweer in Greece, The Searchers in Benelux, Vertical in CEE and ACME Film in the Baltics. FilmNation Entertainment is handling international sales.


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