Duncan Kenworthy and Andrew Macdonald's National Lottery franchise DNA Films is moving ahead on two projects - The Parole Officer, marking the feature debut of UK comedian Steve Coogan, and The Final Curtain, in which Peter O'Toole and Aidan Gillen play warring media celebrities.
In its final round of lottery funding before the UK government's the Film Council takes over, the Arts Council of England (ACE) has awarded £2m to The Parole Officer. The £5.9m project is co-written and is to star Coogan as a parole officer who is framed for murder.
DNA has also cast O'Toole and Gillen in its third film to go into production, The Final Curtain. The story about two competing media celebrities is written by John Hodge (The Beach, Trainspotting) and to be directed by newcomer Patrick Harkins.
O'Toole plays a showbiz giant, while Gillen is the young maverick who threatens to topple him from his supremacy. Christopher Young is producing. DNA's first two productions are Strictly Sinatra and Creatures.
Other projects to secure funding from ACE include Child Of Air, an adaptation by Alan Clews from his novel for which studio franchise The Film Consortium (TFC) secured a development award. TFC also secured a development award for Transgressions, a thriller adapted by Sarah Dunant from her novel.
Lottery franchise Pathe Pictures pulled down funding for Terry Gilliam's The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (see separate story), along with Minister Of Fun, in which UK comedian Lenny Henry plays a maverick politician. Pathe also pulled down development funding for Ode To Pandora, a suburban sex comedy revolved around partner swapping.
ACE, which handed over lottery responsibility on April 1, has administered lottery funding worth more than £97.2m over the last four years. "This has helped to attract more than £70m from UK commercial sources and a further £80m in overseas investment in British films," said ACE chief executive Peter Hewitt.