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Meryl Streep Drama ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’ Picked Up by Paramount

Footage of Stephen Frears’ new film screened for buyers at Toronto Film Festival Friday

Paramount Pictured picked up U.S. rights to director Stephen Frears‘ “Florence Foster Jenkins,” an operatic new comedic drama starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant, the company announced Saturday.

Pathe has U.K. and French distribution rights to the film, which screened footage for buyers in Toronto on Friday.

Two-time Oscar winner Streep stars in the true-life story of a New York heiress and socialite who pursued her dream of becoming a great opera singer. The voice she heard in her head was beautiful, but to everyone else it was hilariously awful.

Her “husband” and manager, St. Clair Bayfield (Grant), an aristocratic English actor, was determined to protect his beloved Florence from the truth. But when Florence decided to give a public concert at Carnegie Hall in 1944, St. Clair knew he faced his greatest challenge.

The film, with a screenplay by Nicholas Martin, is a Pathe and BBC Films presentation with the participation of Canal Plus and Cine Plus of a Qwerty Films Production.

The cast also includes Simon Helberg (“The Big Bang Theory”), Rebecca Ferguson (“Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”) and Nina Arianda (“Midnight in Paris”).

Qwerty’s Michael Kuhn and Tracey Seaward produced, while Pathe’s Cameron McCracken, BBC Films’ Christine Langan and Qwerty’s Malcolm Ritchie executive produced.

Muriel Sauzay, Head of International Sales and Cameron McCracken, MD of Pathe U.K. negotiated the deal on behalf of Pathe. The studio’s negotiating team was lead by Paramount’s SVP of Acquisition and Production Eben Davidson and David Miercort, SVP of Business Affairs.