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Embankment boards Wyatt's Birdsong, Serkis' Animal Farm; Gillian Anderson on sci-fi

X Files star attached to Our Robot Overlords as UK sales outfit Embankment Films builds on prestige slate ahead of the EFM.

UK sales outfit Embankment Films continues to attract high level projects to its year-old slate, with new additions including Rupert Wyatt’s adaptation of Sebastian Faulks’ acclaimed novel Birdsong and Andy Serkis’ 3D imagining of the Orwell classic Animal Farm, with a script from Caroline Thompson (Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas).

The outfit’s $21m-budgeted sci-fi Our Robot Overlords, one of the buzz titles at AFM in November, now has Gillian Anderson and Sir Ben Kingsley attached. The film will mark Anderson’s first sci-fi project outside of The X Files franchise.

In a recent interview with Screen’s sister publication Broadcast, Anderson expressed excitement about the project from Grabbers director Jon Wright.

“I’ve got a film that’s shooting in May,” she said. “It’s with Ben Kingsley and it has robots. At the moment it’s called Our Robot Overlords.

“It’s a fantastic script set in the future about a woman who has four or five kids living with her in a world run by robots and they break out in search of the father who’s gone missing.”

The film is set in a robot-occupied, futuristic Britain in which a gang of teenagers struggle to survive. Produced by Piers Tempest and executive-produced by Mark Huffam, it has secured development backing from the BFI, and Nvizible will handle special effects.

Birdsong

Embankment has recently added Rupert Wyatt’s adaptation of Sebastian Faulks’ acclaimed First World War novel Birdsong to its slate. Wyatt, who directed Rise of the Planet of the Apes and The Escapist, has written the script and will direct with Parallel’s Alan Moloney on board to produce.

Faulks’ novel centres on a young English soldier, exploring his relationship with a married French woman and his experiences fighting on the frontline.

The book has garnered interest from a number of big industry names since its publication but a film version has yet to go into production. The BBC TV adaptation of the novel, starring Eddie Redmayne (Les Miserables), garnered six BAFTA nominations last year after drawing more than 7 million viewers on BBC One.

Animal Farm

Embankment will also be talking to buyers about Andy Serkis’ anticipated 3D re-imagining of George Orwell classic Animal Farm.

Serkis’ performance capture adaptation will be a family film told from the point of view of “an adorable knee-high piglet”.

Serkis and Jonathan Cavendish will produce the feature through their London-based performance capture studio, The Imaginarium.

More projects

Also new to the outfit’s slate is writer-director Erica Beeney’s thriller Sleeping Dogs, about a young, happy family living in remote Nova Scotia, Canada, whose life is disrupted by the arrival of an unpredictable childhood friend.

Rupert Wyatt and Alan Moloney are producing. Beeney wrote 2003 rom-com The Battle of Shaker Heights.

UK thriller Pressure, which has Offender director Ron Scalpello attached, is Embankment’s fourth recent addition.

The script charts the tense experience of a team of deep sea divers trapped in the depths of a hostile ocean. Jason Newmark produces the screenplay by Alan McKenna and Paul Staheli.

All five projects are in pre-production.

Embankment’s Diana, starring Naomi Watts, and Roger Michel’s Le Weekend, are in post-production.

Embankment was launched by Tim Haslam and Hugo Grumbar in early 2012.

Tim Adler contributed to this article.

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