David Parfitt’s Trademark Films, the production company behind the upcoming My Week With Marilyn, reveals details of its new slate and plans to diversify across TV, theatre and online social gaming with the arrival of new partner Ivan Mactaggart.
Trademark Films has acquired the film rights from Scholastic to Chris Wooding’s teen fantasy novel The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray.
Set in a Victorian London of the future which is inhabited by ghouls and demons, the story centres around a young witch hunter whose mission is to protect a girl under threat.
Investor turned producer Ivan Mactaggart, who joined Trademark from financing company BMS as a partner (alongside David Parfitt) in December last year, told Screen that the project “inhabits a world somewhere between Harry Potter and Underworld. There are two beautiful young things at the heart of it, and it has real franchise potential.”
Also on the Trademark feature film slate is an adaptation of Peter Straughan’s stage play Noir. Set in the north of England the dark romantic comedy of errors follows the consequences of a chance encounter between two lonely fantasists, a security guard (who thinks he is Don Quixote) and an insurance office worker (who longs for a white knight to save her from her lonely life). Straughan is adapting the script from his own play. Trademark are currently in talks with directors with a view to going into production in 2012.
Mactaggart revealed that his priorities are to raise money for a Trademark development fund, as well as diversifying into TV, theatre and online.
The company has two TV projects on the slate; a co-production with Mammoth Screen on Tom Stoppard’s adaptation of Ford Maddox Ford’s novel Parade’s End to be directed by Susanna White (Nanny McPhee And The Big Bang) for the BBC and HBO. Rebecca Hall and Benedict Cumberbatch will star in the drama series which is set in the run up to the First World War and centres around a love triangle between an aristoctract, his wife and a young suffragette. The project is due to go into production in the autumn. It will air in 2012.
The second project is an adaption of the classic children’s book The Silver Sword (produced in collaboration with The Artists Studio) for the BBC potentially as a TV/feature hybrid, which is in the latter stages of development. The script is being written by Nigel Williams.
“We are collaborating with established TV companies so we can get ourselves into that market. One of the key things David [Parfitt] and I want to do with Trademark is to make sure we are operating in film, TV, theatre and online. There are peaks and troughs in every industries, so if we are involved in enough industries then we survive those peaks and troughs,” said Mactaggart.
Trademark has also partnered with the producer of West End musical Dirty Dancing, Karl Sydow, on his latest project, a stage adaptation of Iain Softley’s film about the Beatles, Backbeat. The play is opening in London in October.
Mactaggart also revealed plans to move into the social gaming arena, by setting up a joint venture company with gaming outfit Sine Wave Company.
“It is a huge market and an area where I have had interests for some time. We are working with Sine Wave Company on a social gaming project. If it comes off in the way we hope it will, it could be enormous.”
“The overall strategy is to make sure we are active in all of the key media in which we have connections and expertise. Rather than being a film to film production company living on fees,” said Mactaggart, whose aim is to open up the Trademark brand, without comprising on content.
“The films David has been known for have been quality, upscale, often period dramas like Shakespeare In Love,The Madness of King George. Going forward we are looking at a really diverse slate of projects, but the brand is quality.”
Meanwhile, Trademark is putting the finishing touches to Simon Curtis’ hotly anticipated My Week With Marilyn, which will premiere at the New York Film Festival on October 9. The Weinstein Company will release in the US on November 4, followed by a UK release through Entertainment on November 18.