In Berlin I was walking to the premiere of Duncan Tucker’s Transamerica at the CineStar theaters this February with a friend, the head of a small indie distributor, when he got a phone call. The sellers of a film his company had bid on earlier in the festival had accepted his offer, and he had to turn back and meet them immediately to close the deal. I walked on and caught the film, which, if you’ve read my Berlin coverage in the print magazine this issue, I thought was sincere, empathetic and with an appealingly gentle humor. My only qualm as I watched it was whether or not the guy playing the lead was convincing as a passable male-to-female transsexual. On that point I was knocked on my ass when I read the credits, which unspool at the end of the movei: the lead was played by Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman. The next day I told my friend as well as others that the film was actually pretty good and worth a look, but, as it was passed on by that other winter festival, its industry buzz quotient remained low.
The film continued to fly below the radar after Berlin until Tribeca, where ContentFilm picked up foreign rights and Huffman won a Best Actress Award. And Variety now reports that the Weinstein Brothers new company has picked up the film:
“Having already announced an initial slate of high-profile titles — including Anthony Minghella’s Breaking and Entering — this latest buy appears to be a throwback to the brothers’ early-career strategy. They’ve essentially plucked a pic with a controversial, quirky hook as they did in years past when they bought The Magdalene Sisters and The Station Agent.“