BBC Films, which is in Cannes as one of the backers of Lynne Ramsay’s Competition title We Need To Talk About Kevin, has a full slate of new projects including several debut features, family films and some with marquee names.
Theatre director Rufus Norris will make his feature debut with Broken, adapted by Mark O’Rowe from Daniel Clay’s novel. Cillian Murphy is attached to star in what is described as a modern-day To Kill a Mockingbird set in the North of England.
BBC Films Head Christine Langan tells Screen: “It’s about distrust and hatred in a small community. It’s very dark but with a note of redemption.” Dixie Linder, Nick Marston and Tally Garner will produce.
Another first time fictional feature director is documentarian Morgan Matthews who will make a dramatic adaptation of his 2005 documentary Beautiful Young Minds. James Graham writes the new film, The X and Y Factor, about a maths prodigy figuring out love. That one has been developed with UKFC support.
A first-time feature director will be announced soon for Brit List-winning comedy Sex Education with Ruby Films.
Amongst established directors, Langan says that company is in talks to do another project with Ramsay, but it’s early stages (Ramsay will next be doing her Warp Films project). Langan said the response to Kevin in Cannes had been incredible. “It will be very galvanising for (Ramsay). It’s incredibly satisfying.”
Ol Parker will next direct Now Is Good, his adaptation of Jenny Downham’s Before I Die, about a terminally ill girl wanting to taste life. Dakota Fanning, Jeremy Irvine, Paddy Considine and Olivia Williams will star. Graham Broadbent and Pete Czernin will produce.
Political journalist Tom Bradby is working on an updated remake of Defence of the Realm, a political thriller. Lynda Myles and Jason Newmark of Newscope films will produce.
Family films are also key on the slate, as Paul King adapts Peter Pan in Scarlet (for producer Stewart MacKinnon) and Andrea Gibb adapts Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons for Tom and Charlie Guard to direct and Harbour’s Nick Barton to produce.
“We’re excited to have new talent in those movies, reinvigorating and reintroducing those classic titles,” Langan added.
As previously reported, BBC Films is also reteaming with Lone Scherfig for Danish epic Music and Silence and with James Marsh on IRA story Shadow Dancer, and with Number 9 films for Mike Newell’s adaptation of Great Expectations. The slate also includes StreetDance 2.
Armando Iannucci still in development on his voyeurism comedy (as the director is now devoting time to the Alan Partridge film.)
Other forthcoming releases backed by BBC Films include: The First Grader, Perfect Sense, The Awakening, Project Nim, Jane Eyre,You Instead, Coriolanus, My Week With Marilyn and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.