Famed US actress/producerMarlo Thomas and her New York-based production outfit Open Road Productions haveoptioned the US remake rights from the BBC to two-part TV thriller Deceit. Thomas will star and produce the remake which willbe broadcast in the US on popular women's network Lifetime Television.
Based on a novel by ClaireFrancis, Deceit was screened bythe BBC in April 2001. Directed by Stuart Orme, it starred Francesca Annis,Peter O'Brien, Christopher Fulford and James Hazeldine in a story of howa family responds to the mysterious disappearance of a wealthy patriarch aboardhis yacht. John Sacret Young, whose credits include the 2000 ABC TV movie aboutMuhammad Ali King Of The World,has been hired by Thomas to write and direct the new movie.
The deal, which wasconcluded by Robert Levine for Open Road and Colin Jarvis for the BBC, wasinitiated by Ali Lou Mitchell and her Unknown Filmworks, which represents USproducers in the UK market. Mitchell formed Unknown in 1998 when she returnedto the UK after many years in Los Angeles as a creative executive at Disney,Paramount and Sony Pictures. Acting as a conduit for US producers to UKprojects and talent, Unknown signed Thomas and Open Road nearly two years ago.It was Mitchell who introduced Thomas to the novel of Deceit and who initiated the dialogue with the BBC.
"Marlo is extremelycommitted to working with British writing, directing and performingtalent," Mitchell told Screenthis week, adding that she has various projects in the works for Open Road."Marlo's remit to Unknown was simply that she wanted to be exposed to asmuch UK-based talent as possible in order to forge relationships that wouldenable her to work closely and fruitfully in the UK, with an emphasis onfilm."
Thomas, who is repped by CAAin the US, is looking for all kinds of projects out of the UK including ones inwhich she might not star.
A household name in the US,Thomas is most famous for her starring role in the hit TV sitcom That Girl (1966 to 1971), although she has numerous film andTV credits to her name since. Married to iconic TV star Phil Donahue, she hasswitched between dramatic roles in TV films such as Consenting Adult and Nobody's Child to comic turns such as a recurring role asRachel's mother on sitcom Friends. Her film roles include Jenny (1969), Thieves (1977), InThe Spirit (1990), The RealBlonde (1997) and Playing MonaLisa (2000). She started producingfor TV in the 70s.