Sundance acquisitions heated up on Sunday as Sony Pictures Classics bought the rights to Marielle Heller’s drama “The Diary of a Teenage Girl,” which stars Bel Powley, Kristen Wiig and Alexander Skarsgard, multiple individuals familiar with the project have told TheWrap.
Powley stars as the title character, who has an affair with her mother’s (Wiig) boyfriend, played by Alexander Skarsgard.
The feature is Heller’s first film, but emerged with a pedigree from the Sundance Institute’s screenwriting and directing labs.
“Discovering major writer/directors like Mari Heller is why we come to Sundance. There is no richer American movie at Sundance this year. We so look forward to presenting the film to audiences all over the world in a big way,” Sony Pictures Classics said in a statement.
UTA negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.
Ahead of the sale, producer Miranda Bailey described the film to TheWrap this way in an interview:
It’s about Minnie, a teenage girl living in San Francisco in the ’70s, and her mother is raising her and her sister alone. Her mother is hanging out with some precarious people and one of these guys — her boyfriend — comes on to Minnie, and she comes on to him, and they have this affair behind her mother’s back. It’s about what it’s like to be a teenage girl and to have the sexuality of a teenage girl before you’ve experienced love or a relationship. You know, the angst we all go through as teenage girls — What if he loves me? What if he doesn’t? — that kind of thing.
She thinks of her mother as some other woman he’s dating as opposed to her mom, which leads to some uncomfortable moments in a really good way cinematically. It doesn’t matter if it’s an older man or a boy in your same class, teenage girls and adult women have the same anxieties about wanting to be loved and desired. It’s very relatable. Eventually, Minnie realizes it’s not about whether or not someone loves you, it’s how you feel about yourself. I wanted to be part of this message, and I also wanted to support a female filmmaker.
Several films have been snapped up by distributors in a healthy market at Sundance this year. Urban comedy “Dope” also sold on Sunday, for $7 million to Open Road, and Jack Black‘s “The D Train” was sold to IFC.