Sundance 2012: Fox Searchlight buys 'The Surrogate'
Fox Searchlight has emerged as the winner in "The Surrogate" sweepstakes at the Sundance Film Festival, two people close to the negotiations said, outmaneuvering at least three other buyers to acquire the story of a middle-aged disabled man who hires a sex surrogate so he can lose his virginity.
The move marks the first acquisition by Fox Searchlight at the festival this year. Last year, Searchlight bought three titles, including "Martha Marcy May Marlene."
"Surrogate" director Ben Lewin is 65 -- usually old for a Sundance director -- yet his movie, starring John Hawkes, Helen Hunt and William H. Macy, delighted filmgoers and attracted a number of high-profile bidders, including the Weinstein Co.
Searchlight is also still a front-runner to acquire "Beasts of the Southern Wild," a fantastical tale set in a poor part of the South that has garnered acclaim in Park City, Utah, this week.
-- Steve Zeitchik in Park City
Photo: Actor John Hawkes, writer-director Ben Lewin and actor William H. Macy attend the official cast and filmmakers dinner for "The Surrogate" at Bing Bar in Park City, Utah. Credit: Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Bing