January 25, 2022 12:19pm

Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack appear in Good Luck to You, Leo Grande by Sophie Hyde, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Nick Wall.

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EXCLUSIVE: Searchlight Pictures has emerged as the favorite to acquire Good Luck To You, Leo Grande, the Sophie Hyde-directed drama that stars Emma Thompson as a widow who decides to seek out something that has eluded her over a 31-year marriage: a proper, mind-blowing, toe-curling orgasm. Negotiations are underway and will hopefully climax into the first narrative film deal at 2022 Sundance, after a weekend of foreplay but no consummation beyond the docu Fire of Love.

Deadline hears the deal would be for US rights, and will be released through Hulu. This strategy replicates the January deal for the Sundance film Fresh, starring Daisy Edgar-Jones (Normal People) and Sebastian Stan (Pam & Tommy). That Mimi Cave-directed pic will stream exclusively across Disney’s platforms, debuting on Hulu in the U.S. on March 4, with a Latin American premiere on Star+ and a Disney+ unveiling in all other territories to take later this spring.

In the Katy Brand-scripted Leo Grande, retired school teacher and widow Nancy Stokes yearns for adventure, human connection, and some great sex. Her late husband Robert provided a home, a family, something resembling a life, but good sex was never on offer during their 31 year marriage. Nancy decides she will find adventure with a sex worker named Leo Grande (Daryl McCormack from The Wheel of Time). The film premiered January 22 at Virtual Sundance in the Premieres Section.

Many of the films at Sundance have bites — the crowd pleasure Cha Cha Real Smooth has Apple bearing down among others — but as we said coming in, deals would likely be slow going because of the unpredictability of the pandemic and the lack of packed screenings and high altitude that tend to result in bidding battles and quick sales.

CAA Media Finance is working on the Leo Grande deal.

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