Lionsgate has won a bidding war to snag the rights to Freeheld, which tells the true story of the late Laurel Hester, a police detective who fought government officials for equal treatment when she was diagnosed with cancer.
Julianne Moore stars as Hester while Ellen Page, who is also one of the producers, plays Hester’s life partner, Stacie Andree.
In a contest that went overnight and into dawn in the German capital, the company beat out numerous other bidders, including Focus Features, Sony Pictures Classics, and Netflix, among others. The deal for North American rights was in the high seven figures, according to sources. Even more noteworthy is that the bidding war erupted not after execs saw the film, but rather after they were shown a 12-minute sizzle reel.
The film, equal parts love story and civil rights drama, follows Hester’s relationship with her domestic partner, Stacie Andree, played by Ellen Page, and their fight both against the illness and government officials, who were preventing Hester’s pension benefits from going to Andree.
Steve Carell, Michael Shannon, and Luke Grimes also star in the drama, based on the 2007 Academy Award-winning documentary short of the same name.
Peter Sollett directed the film and Ron Nyswayner penned the script.
Page is also one of the producers of the movie, along with Kelly Bush, Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher, James D. Stern, Richard Fischoff, Duncan Montgomery, Jack Selby, and Cynthia Wade.
CAA and WME co-repped the film and the filmmakers in the deal.