This should make UK producers happy: BSkyB has announced a “major new investment” in original British content to feed its Sky Movies and Sky Atlantic channels. News Corp-controlled BSkyB, whose chairman, James Murdoch, stepped down earlier this week, is planning significant backing for British feature-length family films and documentaries, the company said today. The group says the new productions are part of its “on-going drive to bring more high-quality, exclusive content to customers” and are supported by its “commitment to increase investment in home-grown programming to £600 million by 2014.” The move could also be considered a response to a UK film policy review that earlier this year called for more investment in local production from broadcasters – specifically Sky and ITV.
Sky’s recent local family commissions include Neverland with Rhys Ifans, Anna Friel, Bob Hoskins and Keira Knightley as Tinkerbell and Treasure Island with Eddie Izzard and Elijah Wood. Some new projects are already in development with further greenlighted pics to be given a roughly £5 million budget. The funding is coming out of a dedicated six-figure chest. On the documentary side, up to 12 productions will form a new slate on Sky Atlantic, the channel that launched in 2011 with top-tier shows like Boardwalk Empire and, now, Mad Men. Aiming to make the channel a destination for top-quality documentaries, Sky said, “the brief is going out to the world’s best documentary makers to come to the channel with bold ideas.” A full press release follows: Read More »
UPDATE: Channing Tatum’s rep said that he does not plan to star in the film at all, only produce.
EARLIER: Warrior helmer Gavin O’Connor will direct Neverland, the Billy Ray-scripted film that takes a new look at J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. The project is at Sony, and Channing Tatum is attached to star and produce with his partner Reid Carolin under their Iron Horse banner. The pair hatched the project together, and they brought in Ray and enlisted fairy tale go to guy producer Joe Roth, and they sold the pitch to Sony. Palak Patel is also producing. The film, described to me as an origin story of Peter Pan and Hook, rides the wave of revisionist tales after the Roth-produced Alice in Wonderland, and the craze continues with the Snow White pics Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman.
All this comes at a good time for the movie, as Tatum has become a bonafide up and coming star after The Vow, and that is expected to be enhanced with tomorrow’s opening of 21 Jump Street. Tatum’s repped by UTA and Management 360.
O’Connor, who directed the U.S. Olympic hockey team saga Miracle for Disney, directed one of the true gems of 2011 in Warrior, which was unfortunately sold by Lionsgate as a mixed martial arts film when it was a thoughtful father-son story that … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In her U.S. television debut, Keira Knightley has joined the cast of Syfy’s four-hour miniseries Neverland as the voice of Tinker Bell.
On live-action project, a prequel to J.M. Barrie’s classic Peter Pan, the Oscar-nominated actress joins Rhys Ifans, Anna Friel, Bob Hoskins, Charles Dance, Raoul Trujillo and Charlie Rowe. Written and directed by Nick Willing, Neverland centers on Peter (Rowe) who, along with his pals of young pickpockets, have been rounded up by their mentor Jimmy Hook (Ifans) to snatch a magical orb that transports them to another world – Neverland. Filled with white jungles and imposing cities formed out of trees created by Dr. Fludd (Dance) and inhabited by a colony of tree spirits led by Tinker Bell (Knightley), this mysterious realm welcomes unknown friends and enemies snatched from time. These include power-mad Elizabeth Bonny (Friel) and her band of 18th century pirates who search for the answer to eternal youth, a secret guarded by a Holy Man (Trujillo). As the fight to save this strange and beautiful world escalates, Peter and his crew consider that growing old somewhere in time could be less important than growing up — right here in their new home called Neverland.
Knightley will record her role this spring. Neverland, produced by Dublin-based Parallel Films, Syfy and … Read More »
He joins Rhys Ifans, Anna Friel and Bob Hoskins in the two-part miniseries that Sky Movies HD and Syfy are co-producing. Nick Willing is writing and producing this Peter Pan prequel, which Sky Movies HD is financing with Syfy. Currently in production in Genoa, Italy and Dublin, Ireland, Neverland is slated to air in 2011. Irish indie Parallel Films is the producer. Read More »