Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy Depression-era drama going to Weinstein

By Sean O’Connell Harvey Weinstein always has been a major player in the annual Oscar game, and 2011 appears to be no different.

Fresh off his company’s Best Picture win for Tom Hooper’s “The King’s Speech” (in addition to other Oscars including Best Director and Best Actor), Weinstein, by all accounts is reloading for another multi-faceted run through the marathon Oscar season. He recently grabbed the U.S. distribution rights to Phyllida Lloyd’s “The Iron Lady,” a Margaret Thatcher biopic that cast Meryl Streep in the lead role and paired her with Jim Broadbent as the British Prime Minister’s husband, Denis.

Monday morning in Cannes, Weinstein added another potential Oscar chaser to his arsenal of anticipated films. The L.A. Times reports that Weinstein is “closing a deal to acquire the Shia LaBeouf-Tom Hardy period dramatic thriller ‘The Wettest County in the World’ for between $4 million and $5 million, according to a source familiar with the deal who asked not to be identified because the acquisition had not officially been announced.”

John Hillcoat of “The Road” is directing the story of bootleggers (LaBeouf, Hardy and Gary Oldman) who attack their fiercest rivals during the Depression. Based on Matt Bondurant’s novel, the film also Mia Wasikowska (“The Kids Are All Right”) and Jessica Chastain (“The Tree of Life”).

The Times adds that Weinstein “would release the movie widely, hoping to capitalize on the thriller genre and the movie’s star power.”

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