UK author Irvine Welsh, currently writing the follow-up book to his bestseller Trainspotting, has joined director Antonia Bird, actor Robert Carlyle and journalist Mark Cousins as a partner at talent-led production company Four Way Pictures.
Welsh is writing a new screenplay, The Meat Trade, for the two-year old company, set up to offer film-makers and talent a creatively protective environment. The modern day body-snatcher story is set in Edinburgh and billed as "a big British black comedy horror movie". Welsh's Trainspotting follow-up, Porno, may also go through Four Way, if it is adapted into a film, although all partners are free to work outside the operation.
"Irvine is genuinely interested in encouraging new writers," Bird said. "He is a magnet for a whole generation."
Four Way, which aims to attract further partners to help build its momentum as a company, has also teamed with US auteur John Sayles to write and direct the epic A Scottish Western. The project, which has Carlyle attached as part of an ensemble cast, is about Scottish Highlanders who escape English persecution by fleeing to the New World.
BBC Films, which previously had a first-look deal with Four Way, is backing Bird's next directing project, Faith. The picture, expected to start production in March, is a sexual triangle story set against the 1984/5 Miner's strike. The BBC is also backing Hotel California, written by Welsh and Dean Cavanagh. The love story follows a boy and a girl from Yorkshire to South East Asia.
Four Way, which has a company development deal with UK funding body Scottish Screen, is also developing US action thriller Run. Other projects in the works include two book adaptations - Carolyn Haines' Touched and Nicholas Blincoe's The Dope Priest.