How do new streaming companies compete with established movie studios like Warner Bros., Paramount, Disney, Fox and more? Pay everyone twice as much money as you normally would for a hot project. That’s what’s going on with a new project from Academy Award-winning Italian director Paolo Sorrentino starring Jennifer Lawrence. The untitled project is a drama that would see Lawrence play legendary talent agent Sue Menger. Still, the difference between this and the run-of-the-mill biopic is that everyone wants it. Apple and Netflix are both jockeying for it, according to Matt Belloni’s What I’m Hearing newsletter/Puck website (subsequently confirmed by all the trades. Apple’s bid for the project is apparently in the $80 million range, and $20 million of that would go to Jennifer Lawrence.
The story is about how the female trailblazing Mengers crashed the Hollywood boys club of agenting in the ’60s and ’70s with an outsized personality to go with her client list that included actors like Barbra Streisand, Candice Bergen, Peter Bogdanovich, Michael Caine, Dyan Cannon, Cher, Joan Collins, and many more. Lauren Schuker Blum, Rebecca Angelo and John Logan wrote the screenplay. Belloni says, “In addition to the meaty role for four-time Oscar nominee Lawrence, the new script is said to include fun parts for current stars to play some of those ‘70s-era Mengers clients.”
While this may seem like absurd money for a drama, streamers like Netflix and Apple have deep pockets, and Belloni notes that Lawrence is already being paid $20 million for Adam McKay‘s “Don’t Look Up” film opposite Leonardo DiCaprio and is expected to be an awards contender later this year.
Lawrence was married in 2019 and has been taking work infrequently in recent years, seemingly enjoying her life instead. Since 2016, she’s starred in all of four films (“Passengers,” “Mother!” “Red Sparrow,” and “X-Men: Dark Phoenix“). She has the aforementioned McKay project wrapped up and still has an Untitled Lila Neugebauer project (known as “Red, White & Water”) from A24 in the can, but still not on the release scheduled despite shooting over a year ago.
Sorrentino is known for “The Great Beauty,” which won Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards in 2013, and films like “This Must Be The Place” with Sean Penn, “Youth” with Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel and HBO/Sky‘s “The Young Pope” with Jude Law. Sorrentino and Lawrence have been looking for a collaborative project for a while now. She also signed up for his project “Mob Girl” in 2019, but it’s unclear if that one has been shelved in favor of the Sue Mengers project.