Director Roger Michell’s comedic heist movie “The Duke,” starring Oscar winners Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren, was picked up by Sony Pictures Classics, the distributor announced Tuesday.
Sony Classics acquired all rights in the U.S., Latin America, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe (except Poland, the Czech Republic and the former Yugoslavia), Russia/CIS, Greece, Turkey, Portugal, South Africa, South East Asia (except Japan and China) and India.
The film, which had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, is based on the true story of Kempton Bunton, a 60-year-old British taxi driver who in 1961 managed to steal Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London — the first and (so far) only theft in the museum’s history. Kempton sent ransom notes saying that he would return the painting on condition that the government agreed to provide TV for free to the elderly.
“Notting Hill” director Michell worked from a script by Richard Bean and Clive Coleman,
Nicky Bentham produced the film, while executive producers include Cameron McCracken and Jenny Borgars for Pathé, Andrea Scarso for Ingenious Media, Hugo Heppell for Screen Yorkshire, Peter Scarf and Christopher Bunton.
Under co-presidents Michael Barker and Tom Bernard, Sony Classics has released prestigious films that have won 35 Academy Awards and have garnered 149 Oscar nominations.