Cannes: Weinstein Closing in on ‘Wettest County’

Report: distributor edges out several other bidders for John Hillcoat’s Depression-era bootlegging drama

After a heated bidding war involving several distributors, the Weinstein Company appears to be on the verge closing a deal for John Hillcoat's "The Wettest County in the World." The Los Angeles Times is reporting that TWC will pay between $4 and $5 million for the film, which is set during the Depression and deals with a trio of bootleggers played by Shia LeBeouf, Gary Oldman and Tom Hardy.

Several other companies were pursuing the film as well. TheWrap reported that Relativity was close to a deal on Saturday, but that the agreement was in danger of falling apart over Hillcoat's insistence on receiving final cut.

Weinstein released Hillcoat's last movie, 2009's post-apocalyptic drama "The Road," which drew mixed but generally admiring reviews but did not do particularly well at the boxoffice.

"The Wettest County in the World" was written by Australian singer and writer Nick Cave. It is not yet finished, but a promo reel shown at Cannes drew strong interest from TWC, Relativity, CBS Films and others.

TWC has been one of the festival's most active buyers, also acquiring rights to "The Iron Lady," a Margaret Thatcher biopic starring Meryl Streep; the black-and-white, silent comedy "The Artist," which is in competition for the main Cannes prizes; and the martial arts film "Wu Xia," which they plan to release under the English title "Dragon."