SONY PICTURES CLASSICS ACQUIRES RALPH FIENNES’ THE WHITE CROW

Sony Pictures Classics announced today that they have acquired all rights in North America, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Asia (excluding China, Japan, and Singapore), and Benelux from HanWay Films to Ralph Fiennes’ THE WHITE CROW. Based on the book Rudolf Nureyev: The Life by Julie Kavanaugh, the film is directed by Fiennes and written by Academy Award® nominated David Hare (THE HOURS, THE READER.) HanWay Films, who is handling worldwide sales, also co-financed the film together with BBC Films and Rogue Black.

World-class ballet performer Oleg Ivenko stars as Rudolf Nureyev, alongside Adèle Exarchopoulos (BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR) as Clara Saint, and Fiennes as the famous Russian ballet coach, Alexander Pushkin. The cast also includes dancer Sergei Polunin, Chulpan Khamatova, Olivier Rabourdin, Raphaël Personnaz, and Louis Hofmann.

THE WHITE CROW captures the raw physicality and brilliance of Rudolf Nureyev, whose escape to the West stunned the world at the height of the Cold War. With his magnetic presence, Nureyev emerged as ballet’s most famous star, a wild and beautiful dancer limited by the world of 1950s Leningrad. His flirtation with Western artists and ideas led him into a high-stakes game of cat and mouse with the KGB. The film offers a thrilling insight into Nureyev’s dangerous defection, masterminded by the dancer’s great friend, a 21-year-old Parisian, Clara Saint. In an astonishing finale at Le Bourget airport in Paris, THE WHITE CROW leaps to freedom, and in so doing defines his destiny.

The film reunites Michael Barker and Tom Bernard with Fiennes, who previously appeared in Sony Pictures Classics’ SPIDER, THE WHITE COUNTESS, and INVISIBLE WOMAN, the last of which he also directed.

“I’m really delighted to be reuniting with Michael Barker and Tom Bernard and the team at Sony Pictures Classics. It’s been a huge challenge to make this film and there’s no question that with their vast experience with such a wide range of films, SPC is the right home for THE WHITE CROW. It’s great news,” stated Ralph Fiennes.

Said Sony Pictures Classics, “Ralph Fiennes has fully captured the times and early life of Rudolph Nureyev in the most thrilling way possible with the pulsing energy of the man himself. Also, THE WHITE CROW is especially timely. From Nureyev’s rich life experience in Russia and Paris to his suspenseful defection to the West, we are immersed in an authentic story we’ve never seen before. This is one of those rare movies that crosses so many borders culturally as a satisfying entertainment. We look forward to bringing Ralph’s movie to the public.”

HanWay Films MD Gabrielle Stewart added, “We are thrilled to be partnering with Sony Pictures Classics on the film. They have loved the project from the very start and THE WHITE CROW has all the hallmarks of a high-quality SPC release.”

THE WHITE CROW was developed by BBC Films and Gabrielle Tana (THE DUCHESS, DANCER, PHILOMENA) who also produces with Carolyn Marks Blackwood through Magnolia Mae Films together with Fiennes through Lonely Dragon Productions, and François Ivernel (THE QUEEN, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, THE IRON LADY) through the French branch of his company, Montebello Productions. Artist and filmmaker Andrew Levitas (LULLABY, GEORGETOWN, THE ART OF GETTING BY) produces and finances through his companies Metalwork Pictures and Rogue Black respectively.

The deal was negotiated between Sony Pictures Classics and Gabrielle Stewart for HanWay Films, with whom SPC has worked on many films over the years, including A DANGEROUS METHOD and ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE.

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