• Origin Pictures is teaming with theatre company Paines Plough on a scheme to develop playwrights’ screen-writing skills.

    Origin, producers of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and TV series Jamaica Inn , is launching the scheme with backing from its BFI Vision Award and in collaboration with BBC Films.

    The partnership will support four playwrights in their writing across film and theatre over six months through workshops, mentoring and editorial support.

    The selected writers are Alia Bano, Stacey Gregg, Ali Taylor and Alexandra Wood.

    Bano won the Charles Wintour Award in 2009 for Most Promising Playwright at the Evening Standard Awards for her play Shades, which ran at the Royal Court that year. Her play Gap was commissioned by the Royal National Theatre for their Connections 2011 season.

    Wood, whose plays include The Eleventh Capital (Royal Court), The Lion’s Mouth (Rough Cuts/Royal Court), Unbroken (Gate Theatre), Decade (co-writer/Headlong) and an adaptation of Jung Chang’s Wild Swans (Young Vic/American Repertory Theater), won the George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright in 2007.

    Taylor is currently working on a television adaptation of his comedy play Fault Lines (Hampstead Theatre Downstairs) as well as a new play created during an attachment at the Royal Court Theatre.

    Gregg’s plays includeOverride (Watford Palace Theatre) and Perve (Abbey Theatre Dublin). She is currently working on commissions for the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, Clean Break, and BBC NI.

    James Grieve and George Perrin, artistic directors, Paines Plough, said: “We are thrilled to be working in partnership with Origin Pictures, BBC Films and the BFI Vision Award to support four of the UK’s most exciting writers over the next six months. We are privileged to be working with the stars of the future.”

    Paines Plough, founded in 1974 by writer David Pownall and director John Adams, specialises in commissioning and producing new plays.

    The company has worked with writers including Tony Marchant, Abi Morgan, Enda Walsh, Dennis Kelly and Jack Thorne.

    Origin is developing first films with playwrights Nick Payne and Polly Stenham while feature X+Y, the first film from James Graham, whose new play The Angry Brigade premieres in a Paines Plough production in September, is currently in post-production and funded by the BFI and BBC Films.

    Origin has also just wrapped shooting on playwright Alexi Kaye Campbell’s first original screenplay, The Woman in Gold, directed by Simon Curtis and starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds.
  • Katie Holmes, Max Irons and Charles Dance among the new additions to the true story starring Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds and Daniel Brühl.
    Principal photography has begun on Woman in Gold and will run for eight weeks on location in the UK, Austria and the US.

    The true story of a Jewish refugee who took on a government to recover art treasures that belonged to her family - produced by Origin Pictures, BBC Films and The Weinstein Company - will be directed by Simon Curtis (My Week With Marilyn).

    The all-star cast includes Oscar-winner Helen Mirren (The Queen), Ryan Reynolds (Captives) and Daniel Brühl (Rush).

    New additions to the cast include Katie Holmes (The Giver), Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), Max Irons (The Riot Club), Antje Traue (Man of Steel), Charles Dance (Game of Thrones), Elizabeth McGovern (Downton Abbey), Moritz Bleibtreu (Run Lola Run), and Jonathan Pryce (Pirates of the Caribbean franchise).

    Making his screenwriting debut is playwright Alexi Kaye Campbell (The Pride). The film will be produced by David Thompson for Origin Pictures and by Kris Thykier, executive produced by Harvey and Bob Weinstein for The Weinstein Company, and BBC Films’ Christine Langan. US distribution and international sales are being handled by The Weinstein Company, as first revealed by Screen Daily in February.
    Mirren will play Jewish woman Maria Altmann who starts her journey to retrieve family possessions seized by the Nazis, among them Klimt’s famous painting The Lady in Gold, 60 years after she fled Vienna during the Second World War.

    Together with her inexperienced but plucky young lawyer Randy Schoenberg, she embarks on a major battle that takes them to the heart of the Austrian establishment and the US Supreme Court, forcing her to confront difficult truths about the past along the way.

  • Jed Mercurio’s adaptation of DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Ben Vanstone’s adaptation of Laurie Lee’s novel Cider With Rosie, Adrian Hodges' adaptation of LP Hartley’s The Go-Between and J B Priestley’s classic play An Inspector Calls - these four filmed 90-minute adaptations of iconic 20th-century works will be written and directed by some of our finest writers and directors.
    The season was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Controller of BBC One and Ben Stephenson, Controller of BBC Drama.

    Charlotte Moore says: “These four classic works each represent a real moment in our recent history when Britain was on the cusp of great social and cultural change. This season of films aims to explore and contextualise the enormous changes in the way men and women lived and behaved in the 20th century. They all tell uniquely intense and personal stories about people living in Britain 100 years ago.”

    Ben Stephenson says: “Whilst each film will stand as a wonderful treat in its own right, themes about the role of women, class, sexuality and impact of the First World War will ebb and flow across them. I hope that, viewed together, these four masterpieces will present an intelligent and involving picture of what it was like to live in Britain 100 years ago.”


    Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee

    Adapted by Ben Vanstone and directed by Philippa Lowthrope, made by Origin Pictures.

    David Thompson and Ed Rubin from Origin Pictures say: "We are so thrilled to be making a new version of Laurie Lee's timeless classic that has been adapted so masterfully by Ben Vanstone and will be brought to life by the brilliant Philippa Lowthorpe. BBC is the perfect home for this cherished story and we hope it will be a real delight for all the family as we follow the trials and tribulations of Laurie's adolescence in the years following the Great War."

    A vivid memoir of Laurie Lee’s childhood, Cider With Rosie is set in an idyllic Cotswold village, during and immediately after the Great War. It is an evocative coming-of-age story that also chronicles life in a rural world as yet untouched by electricity and cars, depicting a place that sits firmly on the brink between the past and future.
  • LONDON — Endemol has inked an exclusive first-look development and distribution pact with drama producer Origin Pictures, which is led by former BBC Films topper David Thompson.
    The three-year deal will see Endemol provide development funding in return for exclusive first-look distribution rights on Origin television titles.

    Endemol has an existing relationship with Origin, with Endemol Worldwide Distribution handling the distribution rights for the miniseries “Death Comes to Pemberley,” which launched at Mipcom 2013.

    Origin was launched in 2008 by Thompson, who ran BBC Films for over a decade. He works alongside head of film and television Ed Rubin and head of development Claire Marshall on a wide-ranging slate of ambitious drama projects.

    Origin’s television credits include the television movie “Freefall,” starring Dominic Cooper; BAFTA nominated miniseries “The Crimson Petal and the White,” starring Romola Garai, Chris O’Dowd, Gillian Anderson and Richard E. Grant; miniseries “Hidden,” starring Philip Glenister, Thekla Reuten and David Suchet; and the upcoming BBC1 miniseries “Jamaica Inn,” starring Jessica Brown Findlay and Matthew McNulty. “Jamaica Inn” will be distributed by Fremantle Media Enterprises.

    Origin was also the producer of the Golden Globe and BAFTA nominated feature film “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.”

    Cathy Payne, CEO of EWD, commented: “We have really enjoyed working with Origin Pictures on ‘Death Comes to Pemberley,’ and are looking forward to cementing our future relationship with this three-year commitment. EWD cannot wait to bring Origin’s exciting new ideas and ambitions to the international marketplace.”

    Thompson commented: “Endemol is such a dynamic company with a great track record, and we have very much enjoyed getting to know Cathy and her team. We feel certain that Origin has found a fantastic creative and commercial home as we move forward with our ambitious plans.”
  • Origin Pictures has promoted long-time head of development Ed Rubin to head of film and TV and secured paid developments from the BBC and ITV.
    The UK film and TV outfit, responsible for forthcoming BBC1 mini-series Jamaica Inn and horror film The Awakening, is working on a drama about female spies during WWII from Crimson Petal & the White adaptor Lucinda Coxon for the BBC and a contemporary London-based crime series written by Ed Whitmore for ITV.

    Origin is also working on a Christopher Monger adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s medieval–set series of books Order of Darkness.

    Headed by former BBC Films boss David Thompson, the business is currently producing The Weinsten Company and BBC Films-backed feature Woman in Gold, set to star Helen Mirren.

    Meanwhile Thompson has handed Rubin the more senior head of film and TV role after he has worked across all of Origin’s film and television projects for the past six years, including as exec producer of Jamaica Inn.

    Rubin will be replaced by Claire Marshall, who joined the London-based outfit from Channel 4 in early 2013.

    Marshall was previously development editor for C4 drama where she co-produced episodes of new talent strand Coming Up for Touchpaper Television and set up C4’s new writing initiative 4Screenwriting.

    Thompson commented: “Ed and Claire are two of the most talented executives in the industry. Both have real flair, imagination and commitment and a wide range of skills across the whole gamut of film and tv production.”
  • Friday, 21 February 2014
    Helen Mirren attached to star in Simon Curtis’s period drama.
    TWC has boarded prestige drama The Woman in Gold, the Origin Pictures-BBC Films period drama ripped from the headlines about a Jewish refugee who took on a government to recover art treasures that belonged to her family.

    According to ScreenDaily sources, TWC will handle international sales, US distribution and has been across the production of the project.

    Helen Mirren is attached to play Maria Altmann, a Jewish refugee who, with her young lawyer Randol Schoenberg, took on the Austrian government to reclaim a haul of prized Gustav Klimt paintings that were stolen from her family by the Nazis during the Second World War.

    The haul includes Klimt’s The Lady In Gold, Portrait Of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, itself worth more than $130m.

    Simon Curtis will direct the Maria Altmann story, written by acclaimed playwright Alexi Kaye Campbell. The production is aiming to shoot later this year with additional cast now assembling.

    TWC has been aboard the project since the end of last year and is due to launch concerted sales on the film around Cannes.

    The collaboration reunites TWC with My Week with Marilyn director Curtis and producers BBC Films, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom producers Origin, and Harvey Weinstein with The Queen star Mirren.
  • Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom nominated for a BAFTA award for Outstanding British Film.

    Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom will compete against Rush, Saving Mr. Banks, The Selfish Giant, Gravity and Philomena in the category of Outstanding British Film. It is the first South African/British co-production to receive this recognition.
    Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom will be released in cinemas throughout South Africa on 28 November 2013 and will be in UK cinemas January 3rd 2014
  • EXCLUSIVE: Origin Pictures recruits cast and Bankside Films for comedy-drama, set to shoot July 22.
    Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan and newcomer Jo Yang have joined comedy-drama X PLUS Y, which gets underway on July 22.

    Hawkins previously appeared with Marsan in Mike Leigh’s 2008 film, Happy Go Lucky.

    ScreenDaily revealed in March that Asa Butterfield and Rafe Spall are attached to star.

    Bankside Films are also on board the feature about a young maths genius (Butterfield) who has his logic thwarted by the one thing he can’t make sense of - love.

    The film marks the feature directorial debut of Morgan Matthews, the acclaimed documentary-maker behind The Fallen and 7/7: One Day in London.

    X PLUS Y is scripted by playwright James Graham (This House) and inspired by Matthews’ 2007 BAFTA-nominated BBC documentary Beautiful Young Minds about gifted young children who take part in the maths Olympiad.

    Butterfiled will play teenage maths prodigy Nathan and Rafe Spall his unconventional maths teacher. When Nathan’s Olympiad squad go to train in Taiwan, headed by squad leader Richard (Eddie Marsan), Nathan is faced with unexpected challenges - not least his new and unfamiliar feelings for his Chinese counterpart, played by newcomer Jo Yang. Sally Hawkins will play the role of Nathan’s mother.

    Produced by Origin Pictures, Minnow Films, BBC Films and the BFI Film Fund, filming is set to take place in Sheffield, Cambridge and Taiwan. Backing comes from Head Gear Films, Screen Yorkshire and LipSync.

    Producers are David Thompson (Mandela) and Laura Hastings-Smith (Hunger). Co-producer is Origin Pictures’ Ed Rubin and execs are Christine Langan, Joe Oppenheimer, Phil Hunt, Compton Ross and Lizzie Francke.

    Matthews said: “After a five year journey of thought and preparation, I could not be happier at the prospect of going into production with the wonderful cast and crew we have assembled forX PLUS Y.

    “I hope to bring to the big screen, some of the realism, empathy, humour and storytellling that I’ve experienced through years of making documentaries – especially the understanding I gained whilst filming the extraordinary individuals on their real-life journey to the Mathematical Olympiad.”

    Origin’s Thompson and Rubin said: “We are thrilled to be embarking on this debut film from two exceptional talents in Morgan and James, and with such a wonderful cast. This terrific project very much fulfils Origin’s strategy of helping to bring great British talent to the big screen – in films that are uplifting and have real emotional heart.”

    Lizzie Francke, senior executive in the BFI Film Fund, said: “Morgan has made such an important mark with his inspirational documentaries while James is one of the strongest voices to emerge out of theatre in recent years.

    “Morgan came to us with the idea of adapting his documentary Beautiful Young Minds into a drama just over five years ago and it is fantastic, and one of the great pleasures of the job here, to see the film now enter production.”

    Origin is currently in production on comedy What We Did On Our Holiday and post-production on Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, starring Idris Elba.

    TV projects Death Comes to Pemberley and Jamaica Inn are both with BBC One
  • EXCLUSIVE: Independent picks up comedy from Outnumbered team, due to get underway mid-June.
    Billy Connolly, Rosamund Pike, David Tennant, Ben Miller and Amelia Bullmore are among the adult cast on the comedy about a family’s journey to visit their grandfather in Scotland on his 75th birthday.

    Shoot is due to start in Scotland on June 17.

    Producers are Origin Pictures and BBC with backing from Creative Scotland. Lionsgate willhandle UK distribution.

    Independent’s Andrew Orr said: “This is the funniest script that has come out of the UK in years. It is both edgy and commercial and will appeal to anyone who has ever felt like laughing and crying during a tense family gathering.”
  • EXCLUSIVE: Other projects include a Charles Dickens adaptation from Hanna co-writer David Farr, developed by Origin Pictures and BBC Films.
    The annual list of the best unproduced screenplays is compiled from nominations made by more than 80 producers, agents, distributors and sales agents throughout the UK film community.

    Created in 2007 as a UK version of the UK Black List, it aims to draw attention to and stimulate interest in some of the top projects that have yet made it to the screen.

    A script has to receive three or more votes to appear on the list, which this year totals 15 titles, and be penned by a non-US writer. Scripts that have appeared on previous Brit Lists are not eligble.

    This year there was a wider spread of scripts nominated, with fewer achieving the three votes or more needed.

    The Survivalist secured seven votes.

    Second on the list, with six votes, was A Tale of Two Cities by David Farr, co-writer of Joe Wright’s action thriller Hanna.

    Produced by David Thompson’s Origin Pictures and BBC Films, the drama is a new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic story set against the backdrop of the French Revolution.

    Other screenplays include What We Did On Our Holiday, from Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin, writers of BBC sitcom Outnumbered; and Posh, adapted from Laura Wade’s hit play and previously reported by Screen.

    UK BRIT LIST 2013

    SEVEN VOTES

    THE SURVIVALIST by Stephen Fingleton (Independent Talent Group)
    Producers: Robert Jones/Wayne Godfrey
    Genre: Thriller
    Summary: Years after lack of resources result in much of the world’s population dying off, a survivalist is living alone on a farm until a woman and her seventeen year old daughter show up looking for cover.

    SIX VOTES

    TALE OF TWO CITIES by David Farr (Curtis Brown Group)
    Producers: Origin Pictures/BBC Films
    Genre: Drama
    Summary: A bold new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic set against the backdrop of the French Revolution.

    FIVE VOTES

    INVASION by Joe Barton (Independent Talent Group)
    Producers: Raw/Film Four
    Genre: Thriller
    Summary: A US-set psychological thriller with science-fiction elements.

    TRIGGER by Lindsay Shapero (Blake Friedman Agency)
    Producers: Met Film Productions/BFI
    Genre: Dark Comedy
    Summary: A twisted detective thriller centred around a teenage boy investigating his own suicide.

    WHAT WE DID ON OUR HOLIDAY by Guy Jenkin & Andy Hamilton (Berlin Associates)
    Producers: Origin Pictures/BBC Films
    Genre: Comedy Drama
    Summary: From the creators of hit TV show ‘Outnumbered’, comes the story of a family going through a difficult divorce who turn up at a family gathering and find themselves tested by a series of extraordinary circumstances.

    YOUR VOICE IN MY HEAD by Emma Forrest (Casarotto)
    Producers: Ruby Films/Warner Bros
    Genre: Drama
    Summary: Based on Emma Forest’s memoir of the same name.

    FOUR VOTES

    SON OF MAN by Hania Elkington (United Agents)
    Producers: World Productions/BFI
    Genre: Comedy
    Summary: A rites of passage comedy about an obese, bullied Catholic schoolboy with a gift for art and an eccentric saint fixation, who learns what it means to be a man in the unlikely setting of a teenage pregnancy class.

    THREE VOTES

    BUMMER by Andrew Yerlett (Curtis Brown Group)
    Producers: Escape Films
    Genre: Romantic Comedy
    Summary: A teenage couple, in the throes of first love, discover their parents are engaged to be married meaning they will become brother and sister, unless they can find a way to stop the fast-approaching wedding.

    COMPETITION by Sean Buckley (Knight Hall Agency) & Martina Amati (Independent Talent Group)
    Producers: Cowboy Films/Film Four Talent Group)
    Genre: Drama
    Summary: Visceral coming of age tale set in the world of gymnastics.

    DRIVEN by David Leon & Rashid Razaq (Curtis Brown Group)
    Producers: Zeitgeist Films
    Genre: Crime Thriller
    Summary: Loosely autobiographical film based on David Leon’s childhood experiences growing up in Newcastle in the late 80s and early 90s.

    FUTURES by Rob Green (Michelle Kass Associates)
    Producers: Starchild Pictures
    Genre: Thriller
    Summary: Time-travel thriller in London’s financial world.

    HARRY’S BLONDE by Caradog James (Michelle Kass Associates)
    Producers: Dan Films
    Genre: Comedy Horror
    Summary: A teenage boy comes of age with the help of two feuding serial killers.

    POSH by Laura Wade (Knight Hall Agency)
    Producers: Blueprint Pictures
    Genre: Comedy drama
    Summary: Adaptation of Laura Wade’s hit stage play.

    SECOND COMING by Debbie Tucker Green (The Agency)
    Producers: Hillbilly Films/Film Four
    Genre: Drama
    Summary: Jackie is pregnant and knows that it’s not her husband’s. She also knows she’s slept with no-one else. She doesn’t know if she’s losing her mind.

    TRIVIAL PURSUITS by Tom Nash (Berlin Associates)
    Producers: Embargo Films/BFI
    Genre: Thriller
    Summary: A hitman befriends the children of the man he’s trying to kill.