Focus Features is in final talks to close a one-year, first-look deal with Mira Nair's production outfit Mirabai Films encompassing films she will both direct and produce.
The agreement comes as Focus starts selling Nair's Vanity Fair in Cannes; yesterday a deal was closed for Australia with Icon Entertainment.
Focus has just started shooting Vanity Fair in the UK with Reese Witherspoon as Becky Sharp and a glittering supporting cast of Bob Hoskins, Gabriel Byrne, Eileen Atkins, Jim Broadbent, Romola Garai, Rhys Ifans, James Purefroy and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.
Focus has worldwide rights to the Granada Film/Tempesta production which is being produced by Janette Day, Donna Gigliotti and Lydia Dean Pilcher. The initial screenplay adaptation was by Matthew Faulk and Mark Skeet, Gosford Park Oscar winner Julian Fellowes wrote the most recent drafts.
Nair's Monsoon Wedding was released domestically by Focus (then USA Films) and grossed over $13m, making it one of the ten biggest grossing foreign language films of all time in the US. Since then she has directed Hysterical Blindness for HBO for which Uma Thurman won a Golden Globe award.
Vanity Fair is the first feature based on Thackeray's 1848 novel since the 1932 version with Myrna Loy as Becky. The story centres on the lower class Becky who relies on her wit, guile and sexuality as she makes her way up through London society in the 1820s.