Producer Christine Langan may have left the Oscars without the best-picture statuette for The Queen, but she can bank on something just as important: she is producing the next film from the team behind that hit.
Langan, who was one of the producers of The Queen in her role at Granada, joined BBC Films as a producer/executive producer in September 2006 and will work with Stephen Frears, writer Peter Morgan and star Michael Sheen on another project delving into English culture. The film will be based on the David Peace novel, The Damned Utd, about controversial football manager Brian Clough. Andy Harries, who is now leaving Granada, will also produce.
Langan, who worked with Frears, Morgan and Sheen on the lauded 2003 TV political drama The Deal, also hopes the team will work together again to finish that loose trilogy continued in The Queen. "It's early days, but it would explore the special relationship between the US and the UK," Langan says. "We have to see if Peter can find the right story."
Moving from TV and some limited film projects at Granada (she started there in 1993 working on series including Cold Feet), she now delves fully into the theatrical side of the business at BBC Films.
Still, TV talents will be useful. "In this country, it's a small pool of talent. It's inevitable you have that crossover between film and TV," she says.
She had been approached to join BBC Films several years ago, but was only recently ready to move from Granada. "I wanted to now concentrate more exclusively on film," she says.
She has joined the team of producers working under BBC Films head David Thompson, but points out that she is not a direct replacement for former head of development Tracy Scoffield. With only a few months under her belt, Langan says the fit at BBC Films is good: "David's very empowering and the level of discussion is very intelligent and supportive. It's a place that's full of debate."
With the BBC's licence fee not seeing the increase the broadcaster had hoped for, every department is feeling cautious. But Langan says BBC Films seems comparatively safe: "Everyone worries, but the BBC needs to keep spending in film," she explains. "Our film arm is vital in the global reach of the company and it's a great asset."
BBC Films has a slew of projects in development, and Langan jumped in immediately with the production of The Other Boleyn Girl, also written by Morgan, directed by Justin Chadwick and produced with Alison Owen and Scott Rudin.
"It's pretty fresh," she says of the film, now in post-production and starring Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman. "It's a modern reinterpretation of English history. Justin's very visual and understands pace and keeping a scene on its feet," she notes. BBC Films hopes the film could turn into a mini-franchise, and it has also optioned rights to Philippa Gregory's book The Boleyn Inheritance. With a mischievous smile, Langan says that follow-up reads like "a Tudor Bridget Jones".
Langan is also working on Saul Dibb's Disobedience; Lynne Ramsay's adaptation of We Need To Talk About Kevin; and a comedy about elderly people by Paul Andrew Williams. She will also reteam with Adrian Shergold, who directed Granada feature Pierrepoint, with a drama about "the fattest man in Britain".