Weinstein snags Saroo Brierley drama

19 May, 2014 by Don Groves

The Weinstein Co. has nabbed worldwide rights excluding Australasia to an upcoming drama based on the true story of Saroo Brierley, an Indian-born Australian who found his birth mother 25 years after they were separated.

The deal for the movie to be directed by Top of the Lake co-director Garth Davis is worth $12 million, according to the Hollywood Reporter.


The producers are See-Saw Films’ Emile Sherman and Iain Canning and Aquarius Films’ Angie Fielder. The executive producers are Sunstar Entertainment's Andrew Fraser and Shahen Mekertichian.

Originally entitled A Long Way Home, the title of Brierley’s autobiography, when the project secured funding from Screen Australia, the film has been retitled Lion.

Production will begin in August, with a screenplay by Luke Davies. Transmission Films will release in Australasia.

The deal reunites TWC with the producers of The King’s Speech, John Curran’s Tracks, which is due to open in the US in September, and Justin Kurzel's Macbeth.

Brierley was five when he fell asleep on a train bound for Calcutta. Scared and alone, he was forced to live on the streets. He was adopted by an Australian couple and brought up in Tasmania wondering if he would ever see his Indian family again. Helped by his adopted parents and using Google Earth, he tracked down his mother and her family.

According to Deadline.com, TWC and Fox Searchlight took part in a bidding war for the rights. TWC's Harvey Weinstein said he and his team "were simply blown away by this emotional story" when they read the script.

Weinstein enthused: "Coupled with the fact that this project gave us the opportunity to continue our relationship with See- Saw, we jumped at the chance to join the Lion team. Iain and Emile have this innate ability to make films that inspire and resonate with people. I look forward to sharing this fascinating and life-affirming story with audiences all over the world."

Formed in 2010 by Fraser, Daniel Starling and Mekertichian, Sunstar Entertainment announced last year it would co-produce True Spirit, the saga of Australian sailor Jessica Watson who, in 2010, aged 16, became the youngest person ever to sail solo around the world, non-stop and unassisted. 

Sunstar Entertainment reps both Brierley and Watson.