• 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.
  • EXCLUSIVE: Asa Butterfield attached, Rafe Spall in talks for Origin-produced drama due to shoot in the UK this summer.
    Hugo and Ender’s Game star Asa Butterfield is attached to Origin Pictures drama X + Y.

    Rafe Spall, star of I Give it a Year and Prometheus, is in talks to join Butterfield on the project, which is due to shoot this summer.

    Morgan Matthews will direct X + Y - inspired by his BAFTA-nominated BBC documentary Beautiful Young Minds - a rites of passage drama about a teenage prodigy’s journey to the Mathematics Olympiad, and his quest to find a formula for love.

    Screen first reported the project early last year.

    James Graham, writer of acclaimed National Theatre play This House, has written the script. Producers are David Thompson, Ed Rubin and Four Lions producer Derrin Schlesinger with Matthews’ Minnow Films on board as co-producer. Development backers BBC Films and the BFI have also committed production backing. Casting director is Shaheen Baig.

    Spall is in talks to play the tutor of maths genius Nathan. The production is out to cast on the roles of Nathan’s mother and his love interest. Shoot will primarily take place in UK, with the production weighing up additional locations in Taiwan and China.

    Origin head David Thompson will be discussing the project with potential investors at the Hong Kong Film Mart later this month. Thompson previously told Screen: “The film has shades of Billy Elliot, which I was involved in commissioning. It is a very uplifting and affirmative love story about two hyper-clever and extraordinary teenagers from very different worlds.”

    Acclaimed Britain in a Day director Matthews has been nominated for five TV BAFTAs, scooping one in 2009 for documentary The Fallen.

    Origin is also developing What We Did On Our Holiday from writer-directors Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin and is a co-producer on buzzed-about Nelson Mandela biopic Long Walk to Freedom.

    TV productions Jamaica Inn and Death Comes to Pemberley were both recently greenlit by the BBC.
  • The Weinstein Co. is already stocking up for awards season 2014, acquiring domestic distrib rights to the Nelson Mandela biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom starring Idris Elba.
    "I am extremely passionate about 'Long Walk to Freedom,' " said TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein. "Anant Singh first gave the book to me when the first edition came out. We have been talking about making this film since 1999. There have been a number of stop and goes, but sometimes things work out for a reason, and Anant Singh has done a masterful job in producing this epic story of our times."

    Producer Anant Singh has tried to get the film off the ground for more than two decades, communicating with Mandela from prison and acquiring his biography in 1996. "Skyfall" thesp Naomie Harris also stars as Mandela's former wife Winnie, with Justin Chadwick ("The Other Boleyn Girl") directing.

    "Les Miserables" scribe William Nicholson penned the script, which covers Mandela's life from childhood in a rural village to becoming the first democratically elected president of South Africa.

    Several producers originally chased the book rights, but the longstanding relationship between Mandela and Singh paid off.

    "Singh is a producer I respect very much," Mandela said. "Given the resources and backing, he will produce a work of the highest standards and excellence, and it is for that reason, I opted for him."
    No release date has been set, but the film is in post-production, making a 2013 release likely. It would join TWC fall kudos-season hopefuls "The Butler," starring Forest Whitaker, and "August: Osage County," starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts.

    The deal was negotiated in London by David Glasser and Michal Steinberg for The Weinstein Company and Anant Singh and Alan Grodin of Weintraub Tobin for Distant Horizon.
  • Origin Pictures has had a three-part adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier’s gothic romance, Jamaica Inn, greenlit by BBC1 - along with PD James’ Death Comes to Pemberley.
    Emma Frost, lead writer on The White Queen, is adapting the novel set in 1820 and based on the Cornish moors.

    Broadcast first revealed the BBC was considering the Origin Pictures and BBC Northern Ireland project in July last year.

    The plot revolves around the story of Mary Yellan who goes to stay with her aunty Patience, in Cornwall’s Jamaica Inn to discover it is a front for a sinister group of criminals.

    Jamaica Inn was made into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock in 1939.

    Ed Rubin and David Thompson are both executive producing with the BBC’s Stephen Wright as executive producer along with Hilary Heath.

    Origin has also been given the greenlight by BBC1 to produce PD James adaptation, Death Comes to Pemberley. The three part series has been in development since March 2012, as revealed by Broadcast.

    Set in the world of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, the drama is set for Christmas 2013 and picks up with Elizabeth and Darcy who have been married for six years and embroiled in a murder mystery plot.

    Polly Hill is executive producing for the BBC with Thompson and Rubin.

    BBC1 controller Danny Cohen and controller of BBC drama commissioning Ben Stephenson ordered both series.