Palm Tree Productions has secured independent backing from Monaco-based media investment company IPH (IP Hedge) for a slate of four period dramas set in Scotland. Budgeted in the $5-$10 million range, the projects are Red Rose, Chopin's Widow, Voyage Of Dreams and The White Duchess. It is understood that IPH will cash flow the productions over a period of five years whilst Palm Tree seeks distribution deals and pre-sales on the titles.
The most advanced of the four projects is Red Rose, to be directed by Palm Tree's Robbie Moffat. A biography of poet Robert Burns, it is expected to film on locations in Scotland in the Spring of 2002. Dougray (Enigma) Scott has expressed interest in playing Burns. However, Scott has also been linked to a rival project, Burns (previously entitled Clarinda) which has Vadim Jean attached to direct and is set to film in the summer of 2002. The screenplay is by Alan (Rob Roy) Sharp and James Cosmo will serve as producer on the project.
Fridik Thor Fridriksson is attached to direct the previously announced Chopin's Widow. Voyage Of Dreams is about the 17th century Scottish explorer Alexander Mackenzie whilst The White Duchess recounts the 1960s scandal surrounding the Duchess Of Argyll and her refusal to name the 'headless man' glimpsed in compromising Polaroids of her sexual infidelities. The man was only recently confirmed as swashbuckling movie idol Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
Previously associated with low-budget drama in the $1-2million budget range, Palm Tree has completed two digital features this year, road movie Lost In The Landscape starring Ruth Platt and James Watson and Scottish thriller The Hawk And The Dove also starring James Watson. They begin shooting The Winter Warrior in November. All three films were directed by Robbie Moffat. A further project, The Perfect Gentleman, has been put on hold following the terrorist attacks on September 11.