Film4 has, as usual, a slew of literary adaptations in the works. Lionel Shriver's The Post-Birthday World will be adapted by Atonement Oscar nominee Christopher Hampton. Alison Owen of Ruby will produce and the film is at early script stage. The bestseller follows a woman's life when she chooses the safe, steady man in her life, and a different outcome if she chooses to be with a rogue snooker player.
John Crowley, who had a hit with Film4's Boy A, will adapt Catherine O'Flynn's What Was Lost. David Heyman and Rosie Allison of Heyday Films will produce. A screenwriter has yet to be confirmed. Also with Heyday, Terry Johnson will adapt Matt Hague's Dead Father's Club, about an 11-year-old boy haunted by the ghost of his dead dad.
Abi Morgan, who worked on Film4's Brick Lane, will adapt Julie Myerson's novel The Story Of You for Sam-Taylor Wood to direct. (Taylor Wood's Film4-backed short Love You More will screen in Cannes competition.) 'Abi is going into first draft and it's likely to shoot early next year,' said Film4's head of development Katherine Butler. 'Because everyone loves the short, she's going to be really financeable. We'd like to find a high-profile lead and be really ambitious with it.'
Morgan is also adapting Zadie Smith's best selling novel On Beauty for Film4 and Ruby Films, to be produced by Alison Owen and Scott Rudin. That will go out to directors soon to shoot in 2009.
Ol Parker (Imagine Me & You) is adapting Jenny Downham's family book Before I Die (with Blueprint). Another Blueprint adaptation will be War Reporting For Cowards, a comedy about the real lifestyle reporter who was thrown into war reporting in Iraq. Newcomer Mike Lesslie has adapted.
Film4 is at second-draft stage on Toby Barlow's epic poem Sharp Teeth, which inspired a bidding war. Alexander Stuart is adapting and it will be out to directors soon. It's about LA gangs who are werewolves. A US partner will be announced now.
Jonathan Glazer will again work with Film4 on Under The Skin, which he is writing and directing based on Michael Faber's aliens in Scotland story. That will shoot late in 2008 or early 2009 and is financing and casting now. The budget is likely to be in the range of $25m-$35m.
Playwright Patrick Marber is now working with Film4 and the UK Film Council Development Fund to adapt his West End play Don Juan in Soho, to be produced by Robert Fox. No director is attached yet.
Casting now is Tom Harper's Scouting Book For Boys, written by Jack Thorne and with Christian Colson of Celador (The Descent) to produce. That will shoot late summer.
As previously announced, the Ruby Films/Miramax/Film4 partnership is working on Young Stalin, adapted by John Hodge and with Pawel Pawlikowski to direct. Pawlikowski may shoot the project in the Georgian dialect.
New projects also include Shane Meadows' King Of The Gypsies, which will star Paddy Considine as bare-knuckle boxer Bartley Gorman. The $10m project will re-team Film4 with Meadows longtime producer Mark Herbert at Warp Films. It will shoot in summer 2009 and Film4 is going out to finance now, with a US partner possible.
Meanwhile, Simon Beaufoy is adapting Steven Hall's The Raw Shark Texts for producers Graham Broadbent and Pete Czernin at Blueprint. The acclaimed novel isn't straightforward -- but Butler is excited for the big-screen version. 'On one level it's a story of love and loss and on the other level, it's a guy hunting down a shark he thinks is eating his mind. So it's a Jaws-like finale but it's fantastical and also a poignant story about grief.' The script is at second-draft stage.
Among new film-makers, Joe Cornish make his feature film directorial debut from his own script Attack The Estate. Nira Park of Big Talk will produce (she also works with Edgar Wright, with whom Cornish has co-written Ant-Man with for Marvel.) The story is about aliens attacking a Hoodies-filled Peckham estate. 'It's funny and scary in equal measure,' Butler said. That project could shoot in late 2008 with a cast of newcomers.
Another feature debut is from Paul King, veteran of The Mighty Boosh TV series. His Bunny And The Bull will shoot through Film4-allied Warp X this summer starring Ed Hogg. (Wild Bunch is handling sales). He is also developing, with Spooks writer David Wolstencroft, Shut Up Kevin with producer Adrian Sturges and Capitol Films. The story is about a celebrity whose presence disrupts a gang of friends.
Still another new talent is Richard Ayoade (star of The IT Crowd and director of Arctic Monkeys music videos), who is adapting Joe Dunthorne's Submarine. Mary Burke at Warp Films will produce for a spring 2009 shoot. 'It's like a British Napoleon Dynamite,' Butler says.
From the theatre world and TV show Pulling, Dennis Kelly is writing dark psychological thriller Blackout, which Park of Big Talk will also produce.
The slate also includes Miranda July's love triangle story Satisfaction, which as reported yesterday will begin shooting in Los Angeles in autumn. Film4 has all UK rights and UTA is selling US rights; MK2 is co-financing and has the rest of the world.
'I feel really good - last year was a good year in terms of production.Now we've got a steady drip of really interesting unique projects,'Butler said.
She continues: 'There are several different ways we look at development. We spend time nurturing new talent, we create an environment where people want to come back - Kevin Macdonald or Jonathan Glazer will go make a bigger film in the US and then come back to us when they want to make a UK film. We also are looking at TV writers and directors and talents, especially at comedy - and it's great to be working with someone like Nira Park on that. The other area we're looking at is the art world, like with Steve McQueen and Sam Taylor Wood.
'And we're optioning really interesting literary material - not as many period material as the BBC, for instance. We try to go for interesting, ambitious high concept stuff. That isn't done much in the UK at the moment but there's no reason we can't do projects like that.'
Of course, Film4 continues to work on previously announced projects like Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones.
Film4's Cannes projects are Hunger, Better Things and Love You More.