10 items from 2008
London -- Christmas came early for a host of established producers as the U.K. Film Council dished out more than 2 million pounds ($3 million) in development funding across 15 handpicked production companies.
Beneficiaries of the latest cash handout from the Council fund include Robert Bernstein and Douglas Rae, who run Ecosse Films and are prepping the John Lennon biopic "Nowhere Boy." Graham Broadbent and Peter Czernin's Blueprint Pictures banner, launched in 2004, also grabbed a share of the cash bonanza. Blueprint recently produced "Becoming Jane" and Martin McDonagh's "In Bruges," which opened this year's Sundance Film Festival.
The Council said the latest round of funding, comprising handouts of as much as 150,000 pounds ($225,000) apiece, is part of the development fund's Production Company Vision Awards, billed as a new initiative "designed to help creative producers with a vision for the future of U.K. film."
The aim is for the producers and »
- By Stuart Kemp
BBC One has announced plans to adapt Andrea Levy's award-winning novel Small Island. The BBC Drama commission will be split into two 90-minute episodes, which are scheduled to air in autumn 2009. Paula Milne (The Virgin Queen) and Sarah Williams (Becoming Jane) adapted Levy's book, while Life On Mars's John Alexander will helm the project. The cast features Naomie Harris (28 Days Later), David Oyelowo (The Last King Of Scotland), Ruth Wilson, Benedict Cumberbatch and Nikki Amuka-Bird (Survivors). New BBC Drama controller Ben Stephenson commented: (more) »
- By Alex Fletcher
Produced by U.K. shingle Ecosse Films, the script from "Control" screenwriter Matt Greenhalgh will focus on the Beatle's childhood and subsequent journey to icon status. Filming is set to take place on location in Lennon's hometown of Liverpool.
Greenhalgh's script details the story of Lennon as a lonely teenager growing up as his aunt and the mother who gave him up fight for his love. His only escape is music, art and his fateful friendship with Paul McCartney.
Casting for the major roles "is under way," the backers said of the project that is being co-developed with the U.K. Film Council.
Sales and finance house HanWay Films is handling worldwide sales and will be trying to get sellers to tune »
- By Stuart Kemp
Although it will doubtless find detractors among fans of both Evelyn Waugh's novel and the 1981 PBS miniseries, Julian Jarrold's Brideshead Revisited succeeds handily on its own terms. It lacks the visual pyrotechnics of Joe Wright's Pride & Prejudice, but Jarrold's movie is otherwise a kindred spirit, stripped of voiceover and other markers of literary bona fides. It's a movie of its own, not merely an attempt to cram as much of its source as possible within the confines of a theatrical feature. Jarrold—who previously risked the wrath of the Jane Austen faithful with Becoming Jane—joins screenwriters Jeremy Brock and Andrew Davies in departing radically from Waugh's plot, boiling the dramatis personae down to three central characters: Julia Flyte (Hayley Atwell), the eldest daughter of a wealthy Catholic family; her brother Sebastian (Ben Whishaw), the family's bibulous black sheep; and Charles Ryder (Matthew Goode), a middle-class Londoner who becomes. »
- Sam Adams
- Jack the Ripper, eat your heart out. The Yorkshire Ripper, aka Peter William Sutcliffe, terrorized West Yorkshire, England from 1975 to 1980, killing a total of 13 known women and assaulting many others. While Sutcliffe may have called upon Jack for inspiration, this serial killer is still kicking it in the mental ward of Broadmoor Hospital. And now according to Variety, Channel 4 will be calling upon Sutcliffe for inspiration, as the British public-service broadcaster preps for a trilogy of films based on the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper. The three pics are based off of the books by David Peace, three-fourths of his "Red Riding Quartet" series (the fourth of which will be worked into each). With Sutcliffe's crimes as a backdrop, Peace turns attention to the corruption of the police force. The West Yorkshire police fell under the fire for being inadequately prepared such an investigation, when Sutcliffe was arrested in »
But the casting of the Oscar-nominated actress has reportedly angered a number of U.K. film industry bosses who believe a British actress should have been cast in Page's role.
A source tells British newspaper The Express, "No one is doubting Ellen Page's acting abilities but why a BBC movie of Jane Eyre couldn't have a British actress as the lead is pretty hard to stomach."
It's not the first time an American actress has attracted controversy by playing beloved characters from classic English literature - last year Anne Hathaway caused controversy when she was cast in the role of author Jane Austen in movie Becoming Jane. »
- The Wuthering Heights, that is. Recent chatter has it that Natalie Portman is set to play the headstrong and spoiled Catherine Earnshaw in a remake of Emily Bronte's 19th century novel. Jane Austen can't be the only British writer, after all. I'm starting to believe Portman has a penchant for playing morally ambiguous characters. Catherine, a devious social climber, parallels another of Portman's recent roles - Anne Boleyn in The Other Boleyn Girl. But Portman plays sweetly to the cameras, even when she's plotting. In some ways, Portman seems tailor-fit for the role (her performance in Closer comes to mind as background) but I'm going to wait and see if she can bring the intensity and conflict the character desperately needs. Remake (1970) after remake (1992) after remake (2003), Wuthering Heights is like a holy grail of success for Hollywood studios craving to replicate the success of the original 1939 production starring Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon. »
The Pearl Harbor beauty believes British actors find it easier to pick up an American twang, because they grow up watching popular U.S. shows.
And she admits she was no exception.
The 34-year-old tells Aol Movies, "There are some American actors that do (it well). I thought Anne Hathaway did a fantastic British accent in Becoming Jane. But on the whole, I think we have to do it more, and we hear it more growing up.
"I know that I came to America and I could perfectly understand everything everybody was saying, because we grew up on Knight Rider and The A-Team." »
Hathaway, who launched her film career with 2001's The Princess Diaries, will be feted March 13 at an awards gala set to close ShoWest. The exhibition confab opens March 10 at the Bally's and Paris hotels in Las Vegas.
"Since making her big-screen debut, (Hathaway) has gone on to engage audiences of all ages with a broad range of roles, which is quite a testament to this extremely talented young actress," ShoWest co-managing director Mitch Neuhauser said. "From her roles as a naive young assistant in The Devil Wears Prada, a feisty cowgirl in Brokeback Mountain, a Jane Austen heroine in Becoming Jane and a reluctant princess in 'The Princess Diaries' and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, Hathaway has proven to audiences that she can carry any role that comes her way."
Hathaway stars opposite Steve Carell in Get Smart, set to open June 20. »
LONDON -- British director John Maybury will take on one of English literature's most famous properties after signing up to direct a new big screen adaptation of Wuthering Heights.
Maybury will take on the task of finding his very own Heathcliff and Cathy for a big screen version of the novel by Emily Bronte from a script by Olivia Hetreed (The Girl With A Pearl Earring). But he says he plans to steer away from a stuffy costume drama adaptation.
"It is my intention to do justice to the complexity, darkness and intensity of the original source material, steering our adaptation away from conventional British costume drama." said Maybury.
The movie is backed by Robert Bernstein and Douglas Rae's Ecosse Films, the banner behind a slew of movies including John Madden's Mrs. Brown, Julian Jarrold's Becoming Jane and the much-anticipated upcoming Brideshead Revisited directed by Jarrold.
London based sales and financing powerhouse HanWay Films will handle worldwide sales and plans to introduce the project to distributors at the forthcoming European Film Market in Berlin. »
10 items from 2008
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