By Ray Pride

Sundance Sale: Lionsgate And Roadside Take Juliet, Naked Romcom

To Be Released In Theaters By Roadside Attractions this Summer
Stars Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke and Chris O’Dowd Based on Nick Hornby’s Novel
SANTA MONICA and LOS ANGELES, CA, February 2, 2018 — Global content leader Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B) and sister company Roadside Attractions have acquired U.S. rights from Los Angeles Media Fund to Jesse Peretz’s romantic comedy Juliet, Naked starring Rose Byrne (BridesmaidsDamages), Ethan Hawke (BoyhoodTraining Day) and Chris O’Dowd (Molly’s Game, ‘Get Shorty’). The announcement was made today by Roadside Attractions Co-Presidents and Co-Founders Howard Cohen and Eric d’Arbeloff, and Lionsgate President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions Jason Constantine and EVP of Acquisitions and Co-Productions Eda Kowan. A summer release is planned for the film which played to rave reviews at Sundance.
The film is produced by Albert Berger & Ron Yerxa, Barry Mendel, Judd Apatow and Jeffrey Soros, and executive produced by Simon Horsman, Nick Hornby, Thorsten Schumacher, and Patrick Murray. Tamara Jenkins & Jim Taylor and Evgenia Peretz adapted the screenplay to Juliet, Naked. Rocket Science is handling international sales.
Juliet, Naked tells the story of Annie (Rose Byrne) who is stuck in a long-term relationship with Duncan (Chris O’Dowd) – a huge fan of obscure rock musician Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke). When the acoustic demo of Tucker’s hit record from 25 years ago surfaces, its release leads to a life-changing encounter with the elusive rocker himself. Based on Nick Hornby’s best-selling novel, Juliet, Naked is a comic account of life’s second chances. 
“We’re delighted to be teaming with Howard and Eric in bringing this fun and funny Sundance favorite to theaters,” said Constantine. “The filmmakers and the cast are incredibly talented and give justice to the comedy and originality of Nick’s novel. We look forward to seeing audiences rock out to the film when it hits screens this year.”
Juliet, Naked was one of the true buzz titles at Sundance this year, driven by a wonderful, romantic rock and roll sensibility and enormously winning performances by Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke and Chris O’Dowd,” said Roadside Attractions co-founders Howard Cohen and Eric d’Arbeloff. “Jesse Peretz delivered an indie-spirited home run that’s also broadly commercial and crowd pleasing. It’s the perfect fun and heartwarming comedy for us to program on our slate this summer.”
The deal was negotiated for Lionsgate by Constantine, Kowan, John Biondo, Executive Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs, Acquisitions and Co-Productions, and Elizabeth Hopkins, Senior Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs, Acquisitions and Co-Productions. Howard Cohen negotiated the deal on behalf of Roadside Attractions. UTA Independent Film Group and CAA negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers. Byrne is represented by CAA and RGM, Hawke by CAA and O’Dowd is repped by WME. Berger & Yerxa produce through Bona Fide Productions and Soros and Horsman produce through Los Angeles Media Fund. Legal services provided by Irwin M. Rappaport, P.C. and Harbottle & Lewis LLP.
The first major new studio in decades, Lionsgate is a global content platform whose films, television series, digital products and linear and over-the-top platforms reach next generation audiences around the world.  In addition to its filmed entertainment leadership, Lionsgate content drives a growing presence in interactive and location-based entertainment, gaming, virtual reality and other new entertainment technologies.  Lionsgate’s content initiatives are backed by a 16,000-title film and television library and delivered through a global licensing infrastructure.  The Lionsgate brand is synonymous with original, daring and ground-breaking content created with special emphasis on the evolving patterns and diverse composition of the Company’s worldwide consumer base.
Since its founding in 2003, ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS films have grossed over $300M and garnered nineteen Academy Award® nominations.  Roadside has released such critical and commercial hits as Manchester by the SeaBeatriz at Dinner, Stronger, Love & FriendshipHello My Name is Doris, Mr. Holmes, Love & Mercy, A Most Wanted Man, Dear White People, The Skeleton Twins, All Is Lost, Mud, Winter’s Bone, The Cove, Arbitrage, Margin Call and Super-Size Me. Its upcoming slate includes Jon and Andrew Erwin’s I Can Only Imagine, starring Dennis Quaid, Cloris Leachman, Trace Adkins, Priscilla Shirer, and Broadway’s J. Michael Finley; Sally Potter’s The Party, starring Cillian Murphy, Patricia Clarkson, Kristin Scott Thomas and Timothy Spall; Richard Loncraine’s Finding Your Feet, starring Imelda Staunton, Timothy Spall, Celia Imrie, David Hayman, John Sessions and Joanna Lumley; Michael Pearce’sBeast, starring Jessie Buckley, Johnny Flynn and Geraldine James; and Lizzie, starring Chloë Sevigny and Kristen Stewart.
Founded by financiers-producers, Jeffrey Soros and Simon Horsman in 2014, Los Angeles Media Fund (LAMF) is a multi-faceted media company involved in the financing and production of feature films, unscripted and scripted television shows and other entertainment projects. Over the past few years, LAMF has financed and produced an eclectic slate of feature films, including Juliet, Naked, The Space Between Us, starring Gary Oldman, Asa Butterfield, Britt Robertson, and Carla Gugino and released by STX Entertainment, the horror film, The Bye Bye Man released by STX Entertainment, the dance comedy Step Sisters released by Netflix, the sports documentary Shot in the Dark to be released by Fox Sports in February 2018, and the Jim Carrey thriller, Dark Crime to be released by Saban Films in 2018. LAMF recently signed a first-look deal with London-based production company, Who’s On First, to produce feature films and TV series, primarily in the comedy space; LAMF has two feature films slated for production in 2018 under this arrangement. InventTV, LAMF’s unscripted business, develops and produces shows for various US and international distribution platforms. LAMF also has plans produce a high profile music festival in southern California in 2018, which will run annually.
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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon