Tom Hardy is reuniting with his Locke director and screenwriter Steven Knight, and his Child 44 producer Ridley Scott for eight-part period series Taboo. Knight created the drama based on an original …
Global Showbiz Briefs: Chinese “Fifth Generation” Director Wu Tianming Dies; New BBC Dramas Feature Stellan Skarsgard, Ben Chaplin, Joanne Froggatt & More; Maurice Lévy To Give Mip-TV Keynote
Chinese director Wu Tianming died Tuesday of an apparent heart attack at his home in Beijing. Wu, known as the “Godfather of the Fifth Generation” directed several films in the 1970s and ’80s that helped reshape Chinese cinema including 1986′s Old Well and 1995′s award winner King Of Masks. He got his professional start at Xi’an Film Studios as an apprentice to Cui Wei and eventually took over the studio in the late 1970s, over the next decade-plus helped guide the careers of such noted Chinese filmmakers as Huang Jianxin, Tian Zhuangzhuang, Chen Kaige and Zhang Yimou. His last directing job was 2003′s Gadfly, a 20-part TV miniseries based on the E.L. Voynich novel.
Stellan Skarsgard has been cast in the lead role of Abi Morgan’s new BBC series River. Morgan, who has scripted features including Shame, The Iron Lady and the upcoming Suffragette, won an Emmy last year for writing the now cancelled BBC series The Hour. River reteams her with the BBC for a six-part series she created. Kudos is producing. The drama centers on John River (Skarsgard), a brilliant police officer who walks a professional tightrope between a pathology so extreme he risks permanent dismissal, and a healthy state of mind that would cure him of his gift. The series is due to air in 2015.
Also at the BBC, Ben Chaplin, Downton Abbey‘s Joanne Froggatt and Silent Witness‘ Emilia Fox have been confirmed to join drama showcase The Secrets. The strand is a series of five stand-alone films that highlights new writing talent. It’s made by Working Title TV for BBC One. The above are joining a host of British names that includes Olivia Colman, Alison Steadman, Ashley Walters, Helen Baxendale and Sarah Solemani. BAFTA-winning director Dominic Savage will helm the five films, each of which starts with one incident and then follows five different stories stemming from the event.
Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘Sherlock’ Season Finale Draws 8.77M UK Viewers; BBFC Changes Criteria For UK Movie Ratings; More
‘Sherlock’ Season Finale Ratings Tops Weekend In UK
A roundly lauded finale for Season Three of Sherlock was the weekend’s most-watched TV program in the UK. The modern detective series’ third installment, entitled “His Last Vow,” drew 8.77M viewers for a 32.1% share, according to the overnights. While it was possibly the best-reviewed episode of the current season, it also was the lowest-rated. Last week’s 90-minute turn, “The Sign Of Three,” had brought in 8.84M viewers and the January 1st opener, “The Empty Hearse,” was the show’s most-watched episode ever at 9.2M on BBC One. In March last year, star Benedict Cumberbatch said there would be a fourth series of a three more episodes. At a BAFTA screening and panel discussion last week, Sherlock co-creator Steven Moffat said the next season will be made “as quickly” as possible. Season 3 kicks off in the U.S. on PBS on January 19.
UK’s BBFC Changes Its Movie Ratings Criteria
After a spending nearly a year polling more than 10,000 members of the British public, the UK ratings board is tweaking its guidelines. Beginning February 24, the BBFC will give greater weight to the theme and tone of a film, especially around the 12A and 15 certificate levels (12A is similar to PG-13 in the U.S. and 15 means suitable only for 15 and overs). The board will also pay particular attention “to the psychological impact of horror” and strong visual details like gore. The BBFC has previously shown itself to be squeamish: In 2012, Lionsgate UK shaved seven seconds off The Hunger Games when it appeared the board was going to stamp it with a 15 certificate. Fixes were made in four scenes of violence and one showing details of injuries. It secured the 12A with a warning that it had “occasional gory moments.” While the BBFC will be stricter with language at the U level (equivalent to an MPAA G), it will also be more flexible about allowing very strong language at the 15 rating. “Context, not just frequency, is the most important factor in how language in films is perceived by the public,” the BBFC said today. Further, the group’s findings show that the public is notably concerned about the sexualization of girls in mainstream films and about risks to vulnerable adolescents, including what some described as the onscreen ‘normalization’ of behaviors which parents consider inappropriate. According to findings of the poll, 95% of parents with children under 15 say they check the BBFC rating before watching a film and 89% of moviegoers ratings important. The most complained-about film over the past four years was 2012′s The Woman In Black starring Daniel Radcliffe. Eleven percent of moviegoers polled thought it had received too low a rating at 12A and should have been given a 15.
Global Showbiz Briefs: BBC One Preps ‘Gangsta Granny’; Pathé Boards ‘Suffragette’ With Carey Mulligan; More
BBC One’s ‘Gangsta Granny’ Rounds Out Cast
Julia McKenzie, Joanna Lumley, Rob Brydon and Miranda Hart will star in Gangsta Granny, BBC One’s 60-minute adaptation of David Walliams’ best-selling children’s novel. The comedy-drama tells the story of young Ben (Reece Buttery), who is bored while staying with his dull grandma (McKenzie). Then one day, Grandma tells Ben a story that she was once an international jewel thief, and together they go on a wild adventure. Directed by Matt Lipsey, Gangsta Granny will be produced by Jo Sargent and executive produced by Mark Freeland. It begins filming Sunday for broadcast at Christmastime
Former Downton Abbey star Jessica Brown Findlay will topline BBC One‘s three-part adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s 1936 gothic novel, Jamaica Inn. Emma Frost (The White Queen) wrote the adaptation that’s produced by Origin Pictures and directed by BAFTA winner Philippa Lowthorpe (Call The Midwife). Set in 1820s Cornwall, the story follows spirited Mary Yellan (Brown Findlay), a young woman sent to live with her aunt (Joanne Whalley) after the death of her mother. When Mary arrives at the eerie, isolated Jamaica Inn, she finds her once carefree aunt is now firmly under the spell of domineering husband Joss (Sean Harris). The inn, it turns out, is a front for a smuggling ring. As Mary attempts to navigate her new surroundings, she falls for bad boy Jem (Matthew McNulty) and begins questioning her own morals and loyalties until an ultimate test reveals her true self. Ben Daniels and Shirley Henderson also star. Shooting starts this week in Cornwall, Yorkshire and Cumbria with a 2014 airdate to be confirmed.
It’s still missing a 4th mentor, but The Voice UK has confirmed the return of will.i.am and Tom Jones for Season 3. The show has also set pop icon Kylie Minogue for her first go-round in a …