Ealing Studios, the historic UK film studio at the centre of a £50 million redevelopment plan, is reviving the classic British comedies of St Trinian's.
Producer and Ealing co-owner Barnaby Thompson confirmed that Rupert Everett may play the dual roles originally played by Alastair Sim in 1954's The Belles Of St Trinian's: the headmistress and her brother, who helps the riotous girls in their get rich quick gambling escapades. Everett starred in An Ideal Husband and the upcoming The Importance Of Being Earnest for Thompson and his producing partner Uri Fructmann
"We are going to have a lot of fun with it," said Thompson, whose credits include Spice World: The Movie and Lucky Break. "If Kylie Minogue wants a part as one of the girls, great."
Thompson bought the underlying rights to St Trinian's from Canada's Nelvana and is finalising a deal with Canal Plus for the remake rights. Miramax Films recently struck a first-look deal with Thompson and Fruchtmann for English speaking territories.
The filmmakers aim to update the films, which include The Belles Of St Trinian's and its sequel Blue Murder At St Trinian's, giving them a contemporary setting but staying true to the original stories.
"We won't have to change that much - it'll be a rundown boarding school only in 2002, so the essential set up is exactly the same" Thompson said. "The changes will be more in terms of the tone, giving it a more contemporary view of the world."
Thompson and Fruchtmann are folding their production company Fragile Films into Ealing, with Thompson assuming the role of head of studio. The producers bought the studio two years ago as part of a consortium including Internet guru John Kao and Harry Handelsman, the property developer credited with introducing New York-style loft living to the UK.
The business plan harks back to Ealing's glory days in the 40s and 50s, when the studio was both a physical facility and made its own productions in-house. Also in the works is $40 million animation film Valiant, the story of a heroic WW2 homing pigeon that will use an animation suite that Ealing is currently building.
"We want to provide a home for talent," Thompson said. "That could either be formally or just by working with them regularly."
One regular Fragile director, Oliver Parker, is attached to direct Fade To Black from a script by John Sayles. The post-WW2 noir thriller is based around how Orson Welles, having just broken up with Rita Hayworth, goes to Cinecitta studios in Italy to shoot Black Magic. Colin Firth, another regular actor for Fragile, may play Welles.