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Focus Features’ "Admission" Starts Production

Production begins this week in New York and New Jersey on Focus Features’ Admission, directed by Academy Award nominee Paul Weitz. Focus CEO James Schamus made the announcement today.

The comedy/drama stars Screen Actors Guild Award winner Tina Fey (30 Rock), Paul Rudd (soon to be seen in This is 40), BAFTA Award nominee Michael Sheen (The Queen), Golden Globe Award nominee Gloria Reuben (ER), Wallace Shawn (of the upcoming A Late Quartet), and Academy Award nominee Lily Tomlin (Nashville). The screenplay is adapted by Karen Croner (One True Thing) and Mr. Weitz from Jean Hanff Korelitz’s 2009 novel of the same name.

Mr. Weitz, an Academy Award nominee as one of the screenwriters of About a Boy, most recently adapted and directed Being Flynn for Focus. He is producing Admission with Andrew Miano, his partner in the production company Depth of Field, and Kerry Kohansky-Roberts (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist). Academy Award nominee Caroline Baron (Capote) is executive-producing the movie. Admission director of photography Declan Quinn, production designer Sarah Knowles, editor Joan Sobel, and costume designer Aude Bronson-Howard are all reteaming with Mr. Weitz following their work together on Being Flynn. Focus holds worldwide rights to Admission, and will commence sales at this month’s Cannes International Film Festival. Focus director of development & production Christopher Kopp is supervising Admission for president of production Jeb Brody.

In the movie, Ms. Fey is portraying Portia Nathan, an admissions officer at Princeton University. Evaluating thousands of hopeful college students, the exceedingly bright and driven woman lives her life by the book, both at work and in her relationship with a faculty colleague, Mark (Mr. Sheen). Visiting an experimental New Hampshire high school submitting applicants, Portia is caught off guard when its co-founder John Halsey (Mr. Rudd) turns out to have attended college with her. She is then floored when reminded of the life-altering decision that she made while still a student herself; she had a son, who she gave up for adoption, and who she now realizes may be one of John’s students, the precocious misfit Jeremiah. As Portia’s emotions surge forth, she finds her life turning upside down in embarrassing ways and begins to bend the admissions rules – in the hopes of getting Jeremiah on the best path while perhaps righting her own as well.

Mr. Schamus said, “Everyone at Focus is delighted to be continuing our collaboration with Paul Weitz, a truly humane filmmaker. As always, Paul has joined with an amazing cast, for a story that promises not only laughs and tears, but the deep pleasures of understanding and empathy.”

Focus Features and Focus Features International (www.focusfeatures.com) comprise a singular global company. This worldwide studio makes original and daring films that challenge the mainstream to embrace and enjoy voices and visions from around the world that deliver global commercial success. The company operates as Focus Features in North America, and as Focus Features International (FFI) in the rest of the world, and is celebrating its 10th Anniversary in 2012.

In addition to Admission, current and upcoming Focus Features releases include Moonrise Kingdom, world-premiering as the opening-night film of the 2012 Cannes International Film Festival, the new feature from Wes Anderson, starring Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and Jason Schwartzman; Lorene Scafaria’s Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley; Sam Fell and Chris Butler’s ParaNorman, the new 3D stop-motion comedy thriller from animation company LAIKA; Jamie Travis’ contemporary comedy For a Good Time, Call…, starring Ari Graynor and Lauren Anne Miller; Closed Circuit, the suspense thriller directed by John Crowley and starring Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall; Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land, the contemporary drama written by and starring Matt Damon and John Krasinski; the historical tale Hyde Park on Hudson, directed by Roger Michell and starring Academy Award nominees Bill Murray and Laura Linney; and Joe Wright’s epic love story Anna Karenina, starring Keira Knightley, Jude Law, and Aaron Johnson.

Focus Features and Focus Features International are part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. Comcast Corporation owns a controlling 51% interest in NBCUniversal, with GE holding a 49% stake.

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