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Focus Features and Universal Pictures International to Distribute Miramax’s Espionage Thriller THE DEBT

Posted February 09, 2011

Focus Features and Universal Pictures International to Distribute Miramax’s Espionage Thriller THE DEBT, starring Helen Mirren and Sam Worthington

NEW YORK, NY and SANTA MONICA, CA, February 9th, 2011 – The espionage thriller The Debt will be distributed for Miramax by Focus Features and Universal Pictures International (UPI). Focus will release The Debt in the U.S. nationwide on Wednesday, August 31st, and UPI will release the film internationally.

Directed by Academy Award nominee John Madden (Shakespeare in Love), The Debt stars Academy Award winner Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington (Avatar, Clash of the Titans), Jessica Chastain (soon to be seen in The Tree of Life), Marton Csokas (Universal’s upcoming Dream House), Jesper Christensen (Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace), Ciarán Hinds (Focus’ Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day), and two-time Academy Award nominee Tom Wilkinson. The screenplay, by Matthew Vaughn & Jane Goldman and Peter Straughan, is adapted from the 2007 Israeli film Ha-Hov. The producers of The Debt are Mr. Vaughn and Kris Thykier through Marv Films, Eitan Evan, and Eduardo Rossof; Tarquin Pack is the film’s executive producer.

The story begins in 1997, as shocking news reaches retired Mossad secret agents Rachel (played by Ms. Mirren) and Stefan (Mr. Wilkinson) about their former colleague David (Mr. Hinds). All three have been venerated for decades by their country because of the mission that they undertook back in 1966, when the trio (portrayed, respectively, by Ms. Chastain, Mr. Csokas, and Mr. Worthington) tracked down Nazi war criminal Vogel (Mr. Christensen) in East Berlin. At great risk, and at considerable personal cost, the team’s mission was accomplished – or was it? The suspense builds in and across two different time periods, with startling action and surprising revelations.

Mike Lang, CEO of Miramax, said, “We are very pleased to announce our partnership with Focus and UPI. The Debt continues Miramax’s proud history of producing the highest-quality films, with the most respected talent and directors. We believe the film will be well-received by audiences worldwide, and it will be a powerful addition to the Miramax library.”

“Given Focus’ tradition of dramatic thrillers that unfold in exotic locations, The Debt makes for a worthy addition to our 2011 release slate,” said Focus CEO James Schamus. “The picture is taut with nail-biting tension, and spotlights powerful performances from its gifted cast. We are also excited to partner with Miramax and its new team.”

“What was a strong script has become an excellent film – and the kind of terrific thriller that works so well in the international marketplace. Everyone at UPI is proud to be distributing the picture,” said UPI president, international production and acquisitions Christian Grass.

Producer Kris Thykier commented, “We are delighted that Focus and Universal Pictures International have come on board. Their enthusiasm for the movie is palpable, their track record is second to none, and we couldn’t wish for better partners. We are especially grateful to the new Miramax for their commitment to finding the right home for the film.”

In addition to The Debt, the Focus Features slate includes Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right, nominated for 4 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actress (Annette Bening), and winner of 2 Golden Globe Awards including Best Picture [Comedy/Musical]; Academy Award-winning writer/director Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere, which won the Golden Lion Award for Best Picture at the 2010 Venice International Film Festival; Kevin Macdonald’s Roman epic adventure The Eagle, starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell; Cary Joji Fukunaga’s romantic drama Jane Eyre, starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender; Joe Wright’s adventure thriller Hanna, starring Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, and Cate Blanchett; Mike Mills’ comedy/drama Beginners, starring Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer; writer/director Dee Rees’ contemporary drama Pariah, which world-premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival; and Lone Scherfig’s romance One Day, based on the bestselling novel, starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess.

Focus Features and Universal Pictures International are part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. Comcast Corporation owns a controlling 51% interest in NBCUniversal, with GE holding a 49% stake.