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With Mordecai Richler's 'Barney's Version,' a Canadian novelist on the U.S. big screen

September 8, 2010 |  8:46 am
The film world has been more about the graphic novels lately, but moviegoers interested in seeing a dense prose novel adapted to the screen will now have their chance.

Sony Pictures Classics announced Wednesday morning that it's acquired U.S. rights to "Barney's Version" and will release the movie theatrically. The film, directed by Richard J. Lewis, is a big-screen take on Mordecai Richler's sprawling novel that's presented as a fictional memoir.

In the film, Paul Giamatti plays the titular Barney, an older man who's lived the good life but had a series of bungled relationships. Minnie Driver, Rosamund Pike and Dustin Hoffman co-star in the movie, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival and will play the Toronto International Film Festival, which begins Thursday.

Noted Canadian producer Robert Lantos, who produced the dramedy, said in a statement that conversations began with Sony Classics several years earlier. The specialty division is typically active at film festivals, buying movies that premiere there and also using them as a commercial springboard; two years ago, for instance, its awards-season run for family drama "Rachel Getting Married" began at Toronto.

--Steven Zeitchik