Helen Hunt, John Hawkes and William H. Macy's independent film, The Surrogate has found a buyer. Fox Searchlight bought the movie for $6 million after it premiered at the Sundance Film festival.
The sale is the largest acquisition at Utah film festival so far this year, according to Reuters.
The Surrogate is based on the true story of Mark O'Brien, a handicapped poet and journalist who hires a sex surrogate named Cheryl Cohen Greene, played by Hunt, to lose his virginity in his 30s. Stricken with polio, O'Brien spends most of his hours in an iron lung and is only able to get out for a few hours each day with a portable respirator. Ben Lewin directed the film.
William H. Macy, who also stars in Showtime series Shameless, plays a Catholic priest who helps O'Brien.
Producer Judi Levine said she believes it is important to bring the risqué subject to a wider audience.
We look forward to working with Searchlight to broaden the conversation of topics that were once considered taboo and that represent what's going on in society in a much more open way, Levine said, according to The Inquisitr.
The Surrogate received rave reviews and much chatter at the Sundance Film festival when it screened in Park City on Monday. The Salt Lake Tribune reported Hawkes and Hunt scored two standing ovations.
The real Cheryl Cohen Green and inspiration for Hunt's character is a 67-year-old grandmother and one of 50 registered sex surrogates in the country. According to a recent CNN report, she has seen more than 950 clients, most of whom struggle with impotence and physical disabilities.
I am not getting paid for sex--that is a piece of it. More of the session we're doing communication skills, touching skills. Its not all genitally focused, it's the whole body, she told CNN.
Mark O'Brien's story was also the basis of Jessica Yu's 1996 documentary, Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien.
Helen Hunt appears to be excellently cast for the part. Other than her resemblance to Green, with her blonde hair and wide forehead, Hunt took on challenging and intimate sex scenes playing the girlfriend of a newly-paralyzed man in the 1992 film, The Waterdance.
The Surrogate doesn't have a release date, but it is expected to hit theaters later this year.