Number 9 Films, the production company run by Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen, is set to have three films in production by the end of the year including a Dickens adaptation, a new Neil Jordan vampire picture, and a British gangster movie.
Here in Cannes, Number 9 has confirmed further details of the projects. Mike Newell’s Charles Dickens adaptation Great Expectations has Ralph Fiennes attached to play the convict Magwitch and Helena Bonham-Carter to play Miss Havisham. The lead role of Pip will be played by Jeremy Irvine (shortly to be seen in Steven Spielberg’s film of The War Horse.) The $17 million film, scripted by David Nicholls, is being sold by HanWay in the market.
The UK Film Council/BFI and BBC Films are on board. Shooting begins in September and the key role of Stella will be cast shortly.
“This is really a movie that is in Mike’s heart,” Woolley said of Newell. The release date is likely to be autumn 2012, during the Charles Dickens double centenary.
Meanwhile, Irish director Neil Jordan (who collaborated with Woolley on such movies as Interview With A Vampire and Company Of Wolves) is to work with Number 9 on new vampire picture, Byzantium. Scripted by Moira Buffini, this will star Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton. The £8 million film is a vampire story about a mother and a daughter. “What’s fantastic is that they’re practically the same age. The mother is 24 and the daughter is 16,” Karlsen said. “They became vampires very close in time.”
“It’s very close to Company Of Wolves,” Woolley said of the film, which will take a female perspective on the vampire genre.
The third new project is low budget thriller Hyena, which chronicles the way Albanian gangsters are muscling into the London underworld.
This will be produced by Joanne Laurie directed by Gerard Johnson (who made his name with low budget London serial killer thriller Tony.) Shooting is to begin in the autumn. International sales will be handled by Independent. Peter Ferdinando headlines the cast.