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Sony Pictures Classics Acquires Only Lovers Left Alive; More Plot Details Emerge

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The Wrap

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Sony Pictures Classics Acquires Only Lovers Left Alive; More Plot Details EmergeThe wheeling and dealing at Cannes 2013 is almost over, but one more genre film has landed distro just in the nick of time! Sony Pictures Classics acquired North American rights to Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive just hours before the film’s world premiere at the fest.

“Only Lovers Left Alive is one of the great Jarmusch pictures, and American audiences will love it,” Sony Pictures Classics said in a statement provided to The Wrap. “We are excited to be back with Jim and our great friends [producer] Jeremy Thomas and Tilda Swinton, whose performance, along with the rest of the cast, is fantastic.”

We also got our hands on some spoilery additional info on the film from Yahoo! News, including the fact that it’s more an unusual comedy that puts its own spin on the age-old vampire genre than the angsty drama so many vamp-centric flicks tend to be these days.

Related Story: Image Gallery and Artwork Arrive for Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive

The last English-language entry competing for the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or, Only Lovers Left Alive stars Tilda Swinton as Eve, a grungy but erudite vampire who’s married to a forlorn vampire musician, Adam, played by Tom Hiddleston. Several-hundred-year-old Adam (of Biblical fame) has been living quite happily ever since being expelled from the Garden of Eden–that is, until the 21st century came along with its excesses and greed and pushed him into a full-flung existential crisis. He cracks and orders a wooden bullet to kill himself.

Adam and Eve are not about blood-sucking and murder but are refined lovers of literature, science, music, and learning in general. When Eve’s estranged sister (Mia Wasikowska) “drinks” Ian, a friend, to death, Eve tells her off, saying that in the 21st century people won’t understand such barbarity. It’s not like they can just dump the bodies in the Thames with the tuberculosis sufferers like in old times, she says. Now, in the 21st century, they get their blood from the transfusion section of a hospital. Alongside this, John Hurt plays a vampire Christopher Marlowe, who’s still bitter that Shakespeare became more famous.

In the film vampires elegantly cover their mouths and have a strange ritual with gloves that goes unexplained, but at heart it’s the story of Adam and Eve, who try to rekindle their love despite living in different places, he in Detroit and she in Tangiers. It is as touching as it is odd. The love story between immortal beings also raised philosophical questions for leading man Hiddleston, who said playing Adam was a “fascinating prospect” — a chance to break away from his more conventional superhero roles like Loki in 2011’s Marvel Studios film Thor. “The idea of exploring love in the context of immortality — is (it) a blessing because it recurs, and what does that do to your commitments?” he said.

It took Jarmusch seven years to find a backer, and he explains why: “I wanted to make a vampire love story… The reason it took so long was that no one wanted to give us the money. It’s getting more and more and more difficult for films that are maybe a little unusual or not predictable or not satisfying the expectations of everybody — which is the beauty of cinema, discovering new films of all forms.”

Hear, hear, Jim! And kudos to Sony Pictures Classics for taking a chance on it as well.

Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive

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Debi Moore

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