The Weinstein Company has acquired all US, Latin American and German rights from HanWay Films to Sam Taylor-Wood's John Lennon coming-of-age picture Nowhere Boy, which began filming on March 8 in Liverpool and at Ealing Studios.
This is the first acquisition since the arrival of former Lionsgate executive Tom Ortenberg as head of theatrical films. Nowhere Boy stars Aaron Johnson as the young Lennon, alongside Kristin Scott Thomas, Thomas Sangster, David Morrissey and Anne-Marie Duff.
The Weinsteins plan a year-end release on the project, which is being produced by Ecosse Films in association with Film4, the UK Film Council's Premiere Fund, NorthWest Vision and Media, Lip Sync Productions and Aver Media.
The story tracks formative episodes Lennon's childhood, particularly the return of his absent mother who battles for custody with Lennon's aunt and guardian since the age of five. Dark secrets are revealed and the future co-founder of The Beatles discovers music.
'The story of John Lennon's childhood has never been told, and now Beatles fans will be able to gain insight into his fascinating life,' Ortenberg said.
'Matt [Greenhalgh] wrote an amazing script and Sam has brought together an incredibly talented cast. We're thrilled to be working with Ecosse and Film4 - the latter straight off of their success of Slumdog Millionaire - and all of the other accomplished producers on board.'
Robert Bernstein and Douglas Rae of Ecosse Films are producing. Greenhalgh adapted the screenplay from Julia Baird's memoir Imagine This.
Harvey Weinstein was initially introduced to Taylor-Wood by her mentor the late Anthony Minghella, who produced her debut short Love You More through his company Mirage Enterprises. Rhodri Thomas and Ben Friedman from The Weinstein Company's UK office brought the project to Weinstein who fell in love with the screenplay.
President of international distribution David Glasser and senior vice president of business and legal affairs Michal Steinberg negotiated with Peter Watson and Tim Haslam on behalf of HanWay Films.