Deadline‘s Michael Fleming is reporting that the Weinstein Co. will soon acquire domestic rights to Grace Of Monaco, in which Nicole Kidman will play actress-turned-princess Grace Kelly under director Olivier Dahan (La Vie en Rose).
Tim Roth, of all people, will play Monaco’s Prince Rainier III.
TWC will pay $4 million up-front and commit to an 800-screen opening next December with a $10 million p & a fund, Fleming reports. Dahan is a serious and exacting director, of course, and the December debut suggests that Harvey is betting on Grace being an awards-season player.
I’m sorry but I see a roadblock right away in the casting of Kidman and Roth. Fleming writes that the film will focus on a period in the early ’60s (specifically ’62 to ’64) when Princess Grace helped her husband settle a dispute between Monaco and Franch president Charles De Gaulle over tax laws. Kelly, born on 11.12.29, was between 32 and 34 when the story occurs, and Kidman, who will turn 46 in June, is, all due respect, too old to play someone in her early 30s. She can pretend to be that age and we can pretend along with her, of course, but it won’t feel right. The beautiful and well-tended Kidman has delivered fine performances under the right directors, but you can’t fake youth. She would have been a perfect choice to play Princess Grace about ten years ago. She’s a lot closer right now to the 52 year-old Grace who died in a car crash in September 1982.
And the idea of the 51 year-old Roth playing Rainer (who was around 40 at the time of the story) is looney-tunes. The physical resemblance is non-existent. Roth-as-Rainer is the same realm as casting Seth Rogen to play President Warren G. Harding. You know who looks like Prince Rainer now and could have almost pulled it off despite his being too old? Tom Hanks.
Pledging to spend $10 million on an 800-screen opening is actually a fairly modest thing. It may well be that Grace of Monaco will turn out to be as good as La Vie en Rose, but it seems to me like more of a box-office bet than an award-season contender.