More than three decades after her untimely death at the age of 52, movie fans are still in love with Grace Kelly. And the Weinstein Company seems certain that love could add up to some serious box office returns and awards season recognition.
The Weinstein Company announced Monday that they have secured American distribution rights to "Grace Of Monaco," in which Nicole Kidman plays the luminously beautiful movie star who became a real-life princess after marrying Prince Rainier III of Monaco (played in the film by Tim Roth). The film was directed by Olivier Dahan, whose 2007 picture "La Vie En Rose" (about the life of the great French singer Edith Piaf) won international acclaim and earned leading lady Marion Cotillard an Academy Award as Best Actress.
In a statement, TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein said, "More than thirty years after her death, Grace Kelly’s story continues to be one of insurmountable allure, and we are so happy Olivier Dahan has brought it new life. As always, Nicole Kidman’s commanding performance is the perfect portrait of a woman who was not only royalty but who also remains a legend of the silver screen and fashion icon."
Weinstein has a reputation for shrewd campaigning for his movies during Oscar season, and during his tenure as head at Miramax, he helped promote "The English Patient," "Shakespeare In Love," and "Good Will Hunting" into Best Picture winners. After co-founding TWC, Weinstein helped do the same for "The King's Speech" and "The Artist." With "Grace Of Monaco" scheduled for a late-December release, Weinstein may well believe this project has just the sort of allure that will add another Oscar to his trophy case (and a few bucks to the studio's bank account).
"Grace In Monaco" depicts an episode in Grace's life during the 1960s in which both her marriage and the stability of Monaco were hanging in the balance, as differences with her husband coincided with a standoff between France and Monaco. Prince Albert II of Monaco has been critical of the film's screenplay, and Monaco's royal family released a statement reading in part, "It recounts one rewritten and needlessly glamorized page in the history of Monaco and its family with both major historical inaccuracies and a series of purely fictional scenes."
"The royal family wishes to stress that this film in no way constitutes a biopic," they added.
Kidman responded in an interview, saying, "This is not a biopic or a fictionalized documentary of Grace Kelly, but only a small part of her life where she reveals her great humanity as well as her fears, and weaknesses."
Director Dahan also weighed in. "I am not a journalist or historian," he said in response to the royal family's statement. "I am an artist. I have not made a biopic. I hate biopics in general. I have done, in any subjectivity, a human portrait of a modern woman who wants to reconcile her family, her husband, her career. But who will give up her career and invent another role. And it will be painful." Dahan added, "I understand their point of view. After all, it is their mother. I do not want to provoke anyone. Only to say that it's cinema."
Regardless of how Monaco's royal family feels, with Kidman in the lead and Roth, Parker Posey, Frank Langella, Paz Vega, and Milo Ventimiglia in the supporting cast, "Grace of Monaco" should be a fascinating look into the life of an international icon, and there's no doubt TWC will see to it we hear plenty about it before the movie opens in December.