DOC NYC Opener ‘Citizen Jane’ Acquired By Sundance Selects

Sundance Selects has acquired U.S. rights to Citizen Jane: Battle For The City, Matt Tyrnauer’s documentary that will open the DOC NYC festival tonight. A 2017 release is being eyed for the docu, which had its world premiere at Toronto this year.

Citizen Jane chronicles the life and work of author-activist Jane Jacobs, author of The Death And Life Of Great American Cities, and how she changed the way we look at cities and urban living. It details her most dramatic battles for the city in the 1960s, when she went up against New York power broker Robert Moses. At stake was whether the city’s historic neighborhoods, including Greenwich Village, SoHo, Little Italy, and TriBeCa, would stay intact or be torn apart by expressways and urban-renewal projects. The docu offers a lesson in the power of the people to become active in their own cities.

The pic was produced by Robert Hammond, Corey Reeser, Jessica Van Garsse and Tyrnauer, who also helmed 2008’s Valentino: The Last Emperor. Pierre Lagrange, Bernard Lagrange, and Juliet Page exec produced.

The deal was negotiated by Sundance Selects/IFC Films’ Arianna Bocco and Submarine on behalf of the filmmakers.

c/o Patrick Hipes | Deadline

HBO, 'Valentino' Helmer Matt Tyrnauer Plan Pic On Socialite Wife Of Johnny Carson's Producer Freddie De Cordova

On the 20th anniversary of Johnny Carson’s final Tonight Show, HBO has optioned Once Upon A Time In Beverly Hills, an article Matt Tyrnauer wrote in the March 2011 issue of Vanity Fair. HBO will develop it into a movie about the long, unusual relationship between Beverly Hills socialite Janet de Cordova and her longtime housekeeper Gracie Covarrubias. Tyrnauer, who helmed the documentary Valentino: The Last Emperor, will direct, and John Hoffman will write the script.

Janet was the wife of Freddie de Cordova, Carson’s long time Tonight Show producer. She came to Hollywood hoping to use her beauty to become an actress, but through de Cordova she found her way into the center of the social swirl as one of the true socialites of her era. The de Cordova couple lived lavishly, and threw the most opulent A-list parties populated by the likes of Gary Cooper, Jack Benny, Frank Sinatra, Billy Wilder, Dean Martin, Jimmy Stewart, Lew Wasserman, and Ray Stark. In the process, she spent way more than de Cordova earned. By her side always was Covarrubias, her Mexican servant who tended to de Cordova’s every need, down to periodically stirring the drink de Cordova held in her hand. When her husband died, de Cordova was forced to sell her Beverly Hills estate. Eventually, she went to live in Mexico with Covarribias, who, to the surprise of de Cordova, had used her years of earnings to build a house that was a miniature replica of the home de Cordova was forced to sell. All of her friends had abandoned her or died, but not Covarribias.

The film will be executive produced by Langley Park’s Kevin McCormick, Management 360’s Darin Friedman, Wendy Stark, and Tyrnauer.

c/o Mike Fleming, Jr. | Deadline