Period culture clash comedy Pride was the closing night film of the Directors’ Fortnight sidebar in Cannes this past May. The response was rapturous for the ensemble that’s based on the true story of gay and lesbian activists who attempted to raise money in support of the families of striking miners in 1984 Britain. Helmed by lauded theater director Matthew Warchus, it features a who’s who of British talent including Bill Nighy, Dominic West, Imelda Staunton, Paddy Considine, Andrew Scott, and up-and-comers George MacKay, Freddie Fox and Ben Schnetzer (the lone American in the cast). The Welsh accents may require subtitles when it eventually hits the U.S., in the meantime Pathé releases in the UK on September 12.
In a third first-look deal for the studio, Pathé UK has entered a pact with The Iron Lady producer Damian Jones’ DJ Films Limited. Jones’ producing credits also include Nicholas Hytner’s The History Boys, urban hit Kidulthood and Michael Winterbottom’s Welcome To Sarajevo. DJ Films is currently in post-production on sports drama Fast Girls. Pathé also has first-look agreements with Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours producer Christian Colson via his Cloud Eight Films and with Matt Wilkinson of Stigma Films, with whom the studio is developing a slate of genre titles.
Pathé UK has released the first shot of Meryl Streep as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Streep is in the 2nd week of filming The Iron Lady here in London. It’s the first feature from director Phyllida since she directed Streep in Mamma Mia. Jim Broadbent plays Thatcher’s husband Dennis. Damian Jones is the producer. Fox will release here in Britain through its output deal with Pathé, which is handling international sales itself. Pathé will unveil footage at Cannes. North American rights are still unsold. “I am trying to approach the role with as much zeal, fervour and attention to detail as the real Lady Thatcher possesses – I can only hope my stamina will begin to approach her own,” says Streep.
The London-based arm of the French film company has switched Warner Bros for Fox to handle physical distribution of its theatrical releases. Back in April 2009 Pathé announced that Warner Bros would be handling its theatrical distribution in the UK and Ireland with Fox handling home entertainment. Now Pathé UK bosses Francois Ivernel and Cameron McCracken have decided to put all their oeufs in one basket. The new Fox deal will kick off with one of either two foreign-language titles, Daniel Auteuil’s The Well-Digger’s Daughter or Pedro Almodóvar’s The Skin I Live In. The Fox deal will cover the 3-4 films Pathé makes each year — filming began yesterday on The Iron Lady, starring Meryl Streep as Mrs Thatcher –- as well as any French Pathe productions likely to do well in Britain. “We felt it made sense for one studio to manage the licensing process across all rights,” says Ivernel.