BBC Two has commissioned the feature-length The Wipers Times with My Week With Marilyn‘s David Parfitt producing. Based on the true story of the creation of a satirical magazine that was published in the trenches during World War I, the film stars Ben Chaplin as Captain Fred Roberts who discovered a printing press in the ruins of Ypres, Belgium in 1916 and began publishing the blackly comic Wipers Times for troops on the Western Front. Principal photography has begun in Northern Ireland with Monty Python’s Michael Palin, Julian Rhind-Tutt (The Hour), Steve Oram (Sightseers) and Emilia Fox (Silent Witness) also starring. The Trademark Films production is directed by Andy de Emmony and written by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman. Exec producers are Ivan Mactaggart and Martin Davidson. The movie, to be delivered this summer, does not yet have a UK air date and Trademark tells me producers are hoping for some theatrical play outside the territory. Content Media will start sales in Toronto, once the film is complete. BBC, Northern Ireland Screen Fund, Goldcrest Films and Content are financing.
EXCLUSIVE: German-based Tandem Communications and Ridley and Tony Scott’s Scott Free Prods. have locked in the main cast of their $44 million eight-hour miniseries World Without End, a follow-up to The Pillars of the Earth, which the two companies also co-produced. Cynthia Nixon, Miranda Richardson, Ben Chaplin, Peter Firth (MI5), Charlotte Riley (The Duchess) and Tom Weston-Jones (Enlightenment) lead the cast of the mini, based on the novel by The Pillars of the Earth author Ken Follett. Michael Caton-Jones (Rob Roy) is directing from a script by John Pielmeier, who also adapted The Pillars of the Earth for Tandem and Scott Free. The two companies are co-producing World Without End with Canada’s Take 5 Prods. and Galafilm.
Set in England 200 years after the events in Pillars, World chronicles tough times for ordinary citizens who are being hit with enormous taxes by the King, the Church as England teeters on the brink of a devastating 100-year war with France, and Europe is bracing for a terrible plague, which will wipe out a third of the continent’s population. The mini centers on Caris (Riley), a visionary woman who, with her lover Merthin, builds a community that stands up to the Crown and the Church.
EXCLUSIVE: I hear Nate Corddry has landed the co-lead opposite Kathy Bates on David E. Kelley’s new legal drama for NBC Harry’s Law. He replaces Ben Chaplin who co-starred in the pilot. The character has since been re-conceived. He is no longer British and is the son of Harriet (Bates), the curmudgeonly ex-patent lawyer at the center of the show who, having just been fired from her cushy job, is completely disillusioned with her success and looking for a fresh start. Harry’s Law marks Corddry’s third consecutive project with NBC and Warner Bros. TV. He co-starred on Aaron Sorkin’s series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and headlined Larry Charles’ comedy pilot Our Show this past development season. Additionally, he co-starred on Showtime’s United States of Tara. Corddy had been in high demand after the upfronts. I heard he was also in the running for the lead opposite William Shatner on CBS’ new comedy $#*! My Dad Says.