After the positive reception in Cannes for Rufus Norris’ acclaimed Broken which opened Critics Week, BBC Films has unveiled their new slate, reaffirming their commitment to nurturing relationships with filmmakers and developing new talent.
BBC Films will be welcoming back former collaborators on a number of exciting projects this year. Following An Education and most recently Dustin Hoffman’s Quartet, BBC Films will be working again with Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey of Wildgaze on two projects. Colm Toibin’s best-selling novel, Brooklyn will star Rooney Mara and has been adapted by Academy Award nominated Nick Hornby. Hornby’s novel A Long Way Down, has been adapted by Jack Thorne and will be directed by Pascal Chaumeil (Heartbreaker). It will star Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots, and Emile Hirsch. Having worked previously with Jeremy Thomas on Glastonbury and now Julien Temple’s Kinks’ film You Really Got Me, BBC Films will also be collaborating again with him on Dom Hemingway , the London-set black comedy starring Jude Law and Richard E. Grant to be directed by Richard Sheppard (Matador). Law will play Dom Hemingway, a safecracker with a loose fuse who after 12 years in prison travels with his best friend (played by Grant) to collect what he’s owed for not ratting on crime bosses. Once again, BBC Films will join forces with Ruby Films on Saving Mr Banks which is set to shoot later this year with Disney and stars Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson. Scripted by Kelly Marcel, the film tells of the longstanding feud between Walt Disney and novelist P.L. Travers to obtain the rights to what was to become one of cinema’s family classics, Mary Poppins.
BBC Films are working in partnership with Steve Coogan and Armando Iannucci to bring Alan Partridge to the big screen next year with The Alan Partridge Movie (working title) which begins shooting in the Autumn. Produced by Baby Cow, Kevin Loader, Henry Normal and Armando Iannucci, the film is directed by Declan Lowney. Having worked with Simon Curtis on My Week With Marilyn, BBC Films is delighted to be working with him on a new project, The Golden Lady. Written by acclaimed playwright Alexi Kaye Campbell, and produced by David Thompson (Origin Pictures), it tells the incredible contemporary story of Maria Altmann who,with enterprising young lawyer Randy Schoenberg, fought to reclaim several world famous Klimt paintings, including his most famous golden portrait of Maria’s aunt Adele Bloch-Bauer, that had been stolen from her family by the Nazis.
BBC Films’ relationship with David Heyman and Heyday Films continues with Testament of Youth, Juliette Towhidi’s adaptation of Vera Brittain’s heartbreaking First World War memoir. We are thrilled to announce today that Saoirse Ronan is now attached to play Vera. Ralph Fiennes follows his directorial debut with BBC Films, BAFTA nominated Coriolanus, with Invisible Woman. Currently shooting and adapted by Abi Morgan, the film stars Ralph Fiennes, Felicity Jones, Kristin Scott Thomas and Tom Hollander. It is about a woman forgotten by history, a love so hidden it might never have existed: this is the story of Nelly Ternan’s secret love affair with Charles Dickens. Having previously worked with Andrew Eaton on A Cock and Bull Story, BBC Films has teamed up again on Good Vibrations which is having its world premiere at the opening night of the Belfast Film Festival and is currently screening in the market at Cannes. The inspiring story of Belfast’s radical rebel and music lover Terri Hooley, it is directed by Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn, written by Glenn Patterson and Colin Carberry and produced by Eaton and Chris Martin. Following The Awakening, BBC Films has collaborated with Nick Murphy on the psychological thriller Blood, with a screenplay by Bill Gallagher. Paul Bettany and Stephen Graham star as two brothers in a downwards spiral of guilt, paranoia and destruction with Mark Strong, Brian Cox and Natasha Little co-starring.
Blood has recently wrapped as has Sally Potter’s most recent feature and Mat Whitecross’ Spike Island. Potter’s untitled film, set in London, 1962 as the Cold War meets the sexual revolution, tells the story of two teenage girls whose lifelong friendship is threatened by a clash of desire and the determination to survive. Rising stars Elle Fanning and Alice Englert take the central roles, alongside Christina Hendricks, Timothy Spall, Annette Bening, Alessandro Nivola and Oliver Platt. Artificial Eye will distribute in the UK. Coming of age drama, Spike Island, is a nostalgic snapshot of Britain in the early 1990s. To be distributed in the UK by Revolver and based on the Stone Roses’ most iconic performance, the film focuses on a group of young estate boys who have formed their own indie rock band and travel to see their favourite band’s 1990 Spike Island gig. Written by Chris Coghill, the film stars young British talent including Elliot Tittensor and Matthew McNulty.
“A winning combination of hot new talent and more experienced high-profile filmmakers and artists makes this year’s slate a genuinely rich, diverse and exciting proposition,” said Christine Langan, Head of BBC Films. “I’d particularly like to thank my small and dedicated team at BBC Films who continue to work with real passion and resourcefulness to provide fresh, original and compelling entertainment for the Great British public.”
BBC Films will also be showcasing new filmmakers. Most recently they have worked with Jules Bishop on Borrowed Time and Ben Drew (aka Plan B) on his highly anticipated directorial debut, iLL Manors, which is out in June. BBC Films will present four short films in a unique partnership with Film4 and LOCOG for the London 2012 Festival, where each company has commissioned and co-funded two projects. BBC Films has backed acclaimed writer/director Lynne Ramsay (We Need to Talk about Kevin) on Swimmer, a poetic journey through the waterways and coastline of the British Isles, and directing duo Max Giwa and Dania Pasquini (Streetdance) on What If with Vertigo Films Production a celebration of urban youth culture and London featuring Noel Clarke and the best of UK free running, skateboarding, BMXing and urban art. They are also working with legendary director, Julien Temple, who will write, direct and produce London – The Modern Babylon a time-travelling journey to the heart of his hometown for BBC Films and BFI,with the support of BBC Archive and BFI National Archive. Reaching back to the dawn of film in London at the start of the 20th century, the story unfolds in film archive, voices of Londoners past and present and the flow of popular music across the century; a stream of urban consciousness, like the river which flows through its heart.
Following a great year with the releases of the critically acclaimed We Need to Talk about Kevin, Jane Eyre, My Week With Marilyn, Coriolanus, Project Nim and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, BBC Films is delighted to see the release of Ol Parker’s teen romance Now is Good, James Marsh’s heart wrenching thriller Shadow Dancer, Dustin Hoffman’s hilarious directorial debut Quartet and Mike Newell’s sumptuous Dickens’ classic Great Expectations in the next twelve months.