Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula announced today that the company has acquired worldwide rights to the inspirational true story The Surrogate. Directed and written by Ben Lewin, The Surrogate stars John Hawkes as Mark O'Brien, Helen Hunt as Cheryl Cohen Greene and William H. Macy as Father Brendan. The film was produced by Judi Levine of Suchmuch Films and Stephen Nemeth of Rhino Films and is scheduled to be released in 2012.
"Ben Lewin has created a touching, uplifting look at one man's desire to experience life to the fullest. The brave and indelible performances by John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, and William H. Macy left us floored," said Utley and Gilula.
"We're very happy to have found a home at Fox Searchlight for this film," said director Ben Lewin. "We have worked hard to evoke the spirit of Mark O'Brien and his writing, and feel that the Searchlight team can help bring his unique and touching story to as wide of an audience as possible."
"We look forward to working with Searchlight to broaden the conversation of topics that were once considered taboo and that represent what's going on in society in a much more open way," said Levine.
"Their work on films as diverse as Slumdog Millionaire and Little Miss Sunshine show their resources and passion can translate emotionally compelling material to a mainstream audience," added producer Nemeth.
Based on the poignantly optimistic autobiographical writings of California-based journalist and poet Mark O'Brien, The Surrogate tells the story of a man confined to an iron lung who is determined - at age 38 - to lose his virginity. With the help of his therapists and the guidance of his priest, he sets out to make his dream a reality.
The deal was brokered by Fox Searchlight's Executive Vice President of Worldwide Acquisitions Tony Safford, Senior Vice President of Business Affairs Megan O'Brien and Vice President of Acquisitions & Co-Productions Ray Strache with CAA and attorney Craig Emanuel on behalf of the filmmakers.
Fox Searchlight Pictures is a specialty film company that both finances and acquires motion pictures. It has its own marketing and distribution operations, and its films are distributed internationally by Twentieth Century Fox. Fox Searchlight Pictures is a unit of Fox Filmed Entertainment, a unit of Fox Entertainment Group.