The Libertine, one of the high-profile productions caught up in the UK's tax financing crisis, has secured replacement funding through a deal with Isle of Man Film.
The Isle of Man typically provides around 25% of the budget as a direct equity investment, which would plug most of the 35% gap left by the suspension of Grosvenor Park's First Choice scheme. The production, which stars Johnny Depp, John Malkovich and Samantha Morton, will start shooting next week as planned. The production will now go to the Isle of Man in April.
"Grosvenor Park and Isle of Man Film have been terrific in this crisis," said Russ Smith of production company Mr. Mudd. "Their ability to move quickly in partnership allows The Libertine to continue on schedule. We have a dedicated group of people: cast, crew and financiers, now ready to charge ahead."
Sold internationally by Odyssey Entertainment, The Libertine faced immediate closure and the loss of 150 crew jobs following changes in the tax laws on February 10th. However, a replacement deal was made easier by the fact Malkovich is already on the Isle of Man filming Colour Me Kubrick.
"This is a very attractive location to make films," he said. "The newly built sound stage in Ramsey will provide everything we need."
Grosvenor Park managing director Dan Taylor, who arranged the new deal with the Isle of Man, denied that the company was not interested in the success of the film. "This couldn't be further from the truth, as First Choice investors have a real economic interest in the film's performance. The government's announcement was a body blow to the British film industry, particularly to films about to start shooting."
Leonard Singer, chairman of the Isle of Man Film Commission, added that the island's investment criteria were driven by commercial factors. "We only provide finance for films that will provide a commercial return for us," he said. "We want to avoid the perceived difficulties that have arisen in the UK."