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Apr 11 11 7:30 PM
The annual ranking of the best unproduced UK film scripts, this
year’s list was just revealed this week. Eighty industry insiders were
polled on their favorites; films such as Nowhere Boy followed by Jane Eyre were tops was tops in 2008, while 2009's List saw Good Luck Anthony Belcher grab the top spot which has yet to go into production, but films #3 (Now Is Good), #4 (Salmon Fishing In The Yemen) and #6 (Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) are currently in different stages of prod. Top of this year’s poll was Sex Education, written by Jamie Minoprio and Jonathan M Stern, who contributed to the writing of I Want Candy and both St Trinian’s
films, which may be a clue to the tone of the film. Said to concern a
schoolboy’s plot to take revenge on one of his teachers by seducing his
wife, the script is being developed by BBC Films and Ruby Films. Ben Schiffer’s Cheerleaders
came second in the poll and also concerns teaching – here, an American
teacher in a London school tries to start a cheerleading team. It’s in
development at Cloud Eight Films. Four films were tied in third place with seven votes each. Shadow Dancer
by Tom Bradby is adapted from his own novel. Set against the
background of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the story concerns a
woman forced by MI5 to inform on her family’s involvement with the IRA,
or lose her children. Writer Bradby should be able to draw on his
experience as a political editor and Ireland Correspondent at ITV News
to create a realistic backdrop to the drama. James Marsh (Man on Wire)
is attached to direct Rebecca Hall and Guy Pearce for Unanimous Pictures
(formerly Halcyon Pictures). Song For Marion is the new project from Paul Andrew Williams, and will hopefully be more London to Brighton than The Cottage
(his latest release Cherry Tree Lane recently came out on UK DVD and is
a partial return to form). According to the synopsis on Steel Mill
Pictures’ website, the story follows Arthur, aged 78, whose wife Marion
joins a local community choir. Marion passes away, leading Arthur to set
aside his grief and join the choir himself. If it can channel some of
the charm of the wonderful documentary [email protected], I’ll be keen to see this one! Eran Creevy wrote and directed the little-seen but well-regarded Shifty in 2008, and his new project Welcome to the Punch makes the Brit List. Creevy has compared the project, a British-set crime thriller, to "Heat" and "Infernal Affairs". Honour
by Shan Khan is said to be a thriller about the subject of ‘honour
killings’ – a hot topic in the UK (the term relates to the murder of
someone by their family members for bring shame upon the family). Dan
Films is developing this one. Here's the complete list and for some in-depth analysis checkout ThePlaylist's dissection.:
WELCOME TO THE PUNCH by Eran Creevy (ITG)Producers: Between the Eyes
Apr 11 11 7:52 PM
After assisting Woody Allen and Matthew Vaughn on feature films such
as Layer Cake and Scoop, he began directing music videos for artists
such as Asher D and Sway. It wasn't long before he directed his first
commercial for Coca Cola's energy drink, Relentless. Since then he has
continued to direct music videos including the worldwide hit
'Destination Calabria' for Alex Gaudino, which went on to be one of the
top 5 music videos in 2007. His Utah Saints promo won best dance promo
at the UK Music Awards in 2009. His video for Sonny J 'Hands Free also
picked up several award nominations. His commercial credit list has
grown to include further work for Relentless, Carlsberg, the Nike Plus
campaign for W&K Amsterdam, the US Coastguard and commercials for
the hit US television show The Chase. All showcase Eran's deft ability
to capture high energy and high production value. He wrote and directed
his debut feature Shifty which was released nationwide in cinemas in
2009. Shifty was nominated for a BAFTA, 5 BIFAs and named as one of
Empire magazine's best films of the year. His next feature film, action
thriller 'Welcome to the Punch' is due to go into production in 2011 and
is being exec produced by Ridley Scott.
Apr 11 11 7:55 PM
Apr 11 11 10:36 PM
The acquisition of "Shame," which launched to buyers last month at the Toronto Film Festival, was in the cards given the first-look deal for Blighty rights the distrib signed in 2008 with Iain Canning and Emile Sherman's See-Saw Films, which is producing the pic.
Momentum, a subsidiary of Canada's Alliance Films, will distribute helmer-scribe Boaz Yakin's "Safe" in Blighty, while Alliance takes Canadian rights and sister company Aurum has Spanish rights for the pic.
"Shame," which reunites McQueen with Michael Fassbender following 2008's Cannes Camera d'Or winner "Hunger," is sold internationally by HanWay Films.
London- and Sydney-based See-Saw, which most recently produced Toronto and Telluride buzz title "The King's Speech," will co-finance the pic with Blighty's Film4. Story, penned by Abi Morgan, sees Fassbender play a thirtysomething man who is unable to manage his sex life.
Lensing will begin in January.
A $30 million action pic, "Safe" is the first feature fully financed by sales outfit IM Global.
It began shooting last week in Pennsylvania and Gotham.
Pic, which follows a former elite agent who rescues a kidnapped Chinese girl, is produced through IM Global's production arm Automatik Entertainment, a joint venture with Alliance Communications. Lawrence Bender Prods. and Trigger Street Prods. will also produce alongside the banner.
Following the flurry of activity in Toronto and with AFM less than a month away, Momentum senior acquisitions worldwide exec Robert Walak said the pre-sales market is still alive and kicking.
"I think people are realizing that they need product for the end of 2011 and 2012," he added.
Distrib has U.K. rights to Hammer Films' "The Woman in Black," which is lensing, and is putting financing into IM Global's Barry Levinson eco-thriller "The Bay" and Eran Creevy's "Welcome to the Punch."
Both pics are produced via the Automatik banner.
"Increasingly we've been getting involved at earlier stages," Walak said. "If you have the right property for the U.K., you can see how quickly product goes. U.K. prices just get driven up, but now we're also looking at where we can step in and co-finance before festivals in addition to buying for our distribution slate."
Apr 12 11 7:19 AM
Of all the current generation of leading men, James McAvoy might be one of our favorites. We first noticed him doing sterling British TV work on top-quality projects like “Early Doors,” “Shameless” and “State of Play,” but he went on to prove his big-screen chops with a trio of strong, diverse performances in “Starter For Ten,” “The Last King Of Scotland” and “Atonement.” Since then, he’s worked carefully across a broad range of projects—even in the unpleasant, noisy blockbuster “Wanted,”
he proved a charming lead while demonstrating his action moves, and
he’s got his biggest role to date coming up, as the young Charles Xavier
in “X-Men: First Class.”
It’s always tricky to predict his next move, but, while he’s been linked to massive projects like the now-defunct “At the Mountains of Madness,” “Pride & Prejudice & Zombies” and “Akira,”
it looks as if he’ll use his next slot to return to the U.K. for a
smaller project, working with one of the most promising young British
directors on a project that’s more than a little exciting. McAvoy was on
CNN‘s “Piers Morgan Tonight” last night, along with Robert Redford and most of the rest of the cast of “The Conspirator”—the
Lincoln assassination drama that opens on Friday—and, when not somehow
resisting the temptation to punch the host in his doughy face (he’s a
better man than us, clearly…), the actor let slip that his next project
will be a film called “Welcome to the Punch.”
The project’s been on our radar since last year,
when it placed highly on the annual Brit List, a collection of the best
unmade screenplays in the U.K. The film’s from writer-director Eran Creevy, who made an exceptional debut a couple of years back with the super-low-budget drama “Shifty,” which starred Daniel Mays (”Made in Dagenham,” “Red Riding”) as a man returning to his home town to discover that his best friend, the titular Shifty (Riz Ahmed, of “Four Lions”
fame), had become a coke dealer. The film was made for around £100,000,
as part of Film London’s Microwave scheme, but managed an enormous
amount on that tiny budget, picking up five British Independent Film
Awards, and has become something of a cult success in the UK, although
it never saw a release in the States—watch the trailer below.
The follow-up, which sees Creevy again working with “Shifty” producers Rory Aitken and Ben Pugh, is far bigger in scope, a crime thriller in the vein of “Heat”—Creevy described it at one stage as ‘“Shifty” meets Michael Mann meets “The Last Boy Scout.”’
It involves a London detective, Max Lewinsky (the role we imagine is
earmarked for McAvoy), whose old nemesis, an armed robber known as Red
Diesel, reappears after five years away—but it’s only the tip of a
massive conspiracy. The script’s mostly very strong, a gripping cop
thriller with a scope and a level of action that’s quite uncommon for
the British film industry, and with Creevy at the helm, we can see why
McAvoy would want to get involved.
We’ve reached out to McAvoy’s reps for confirmation, but as yet
haven’t heard anything back, but considering the news came from the
actor’s own mouth, it seems very likely that this is happening. It’s
unclear when the film’s going to go before cameras, and indeed what it
would mean for McAvoy’s involvement with “Anna Karenina”—Joe Wright
told us last week that he’d offered a role in his Tolstoy adaptation to
his “Atonement” star, and was waiting to hear back from him and we
reckon that perhaps there will be some schedule juggling if he wants to
do both. Still, we’re very excited about “Welcome to the Punch,” and
look forward to hearing more about the project—including additional
casting, there being a good half-dozen juicy roles up for the grabs, and
we’re expecting names of McAvoy’s caliber to be lining up alongside
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