Veteran TV exec Stephen Garrett is leaving the Shine Group later this year. He is currently Chairman of Kudos, one of the UK’s leading indies, which he co-founded two decades ago and which was acquired by Elisabeth Murdoch’s Shine in 2007. The company’s recent credits include Broadchurch, The Hour and Vicious. Garrett is also leaving his post as Executive Chairman of Shine Pictures. Under his stewardship, that feature division has made such titles as Eastern Promises, Salmon Fishing In The Yemen and Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day. Upcoming projects, including the Gregory Burke-penned Blowback, will be led by Shine Pictures’ Head of Film Ollie Madden. Together, Shine Pictures and Kudos are currently co-producing feature Spooks: The Greater Good which Garrett is producing with Madden and Kudos CEO Jane Featherstone.
Jumping on the popular Scandi crime wave, BBC Films and Shine Pictures have jointly acquired rights to Child 44 author Tom Rob Smith’s recently published The Farm. Shine’s head of film, Ollie Madden, will produce the feature adaptation with Christine Langan executive producing for BBC Films. The psychological thriller centers on Londoner Daniel, who believes his parents are living a peaceful life on a farm in rural Sweden. After the shocking revelation that his mother has escaped from a mental hospital, she pleads with him to allow her the chance to tell her story. Daniel must decide whether she is a victim of a terrible conspiracy, or, as his father fears, is suffering a psychotic episode. He soon becomes entwined in an urgent tale of secrets, lies, and a horrible crime that implicates his own father. The novel debuted last month to strong reviews in the UK and also launched as a bestseller in Australia, Germany and Israel. It has a further 13 major territories sold. Smith’s Child 44 series has sold over 4 million copies worldwide. The first installment was made into a feature starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and Vincent Cassell and directed by Daniel Espinosa. Summit/Lionsgate will release later this year. The author also created the five-part BBC miniseries, London Spy, a contemporary thriller that sees an innocent young man drawn into a dangerous world of espionage …
EXCLUSIVE: London-set action thriller Blowback is moving forward with Armadillo helmer Janus Metz in the director’s chair. Penned by Gregory Burke, writer of the hot Berlin Competition pic ’71, the film will shoot this summer. The story follows a team of soldiers who return to London from Afghanistan and are drawn into crime on a major scale. But all is not what it seems as they encounter one deception and double-cross after another. Casting is underway with what I’m told will be high-level British talent.
Metz won the top prize in Cannes’ Critics’ Week in 2010 with war documentary Armadillo, and Burke’s 71 is a wartime drama; Blowback teams them on familiar ground. The UK’s Shine Pictures and LA’s Fields Entertainment have boarded in association with American Entertainment Investors. The film is fully financed and Protagonist Pictures is handling international sales. Blowback will be produced by Ollie Madden and Simon Fields, with Stephen Garrett and Joseph Cohen exec producing. Shine’s Madden says, “We’re thrilled to be moving forward with this project, which as well as being a gripping, entertaining thriller also feels very timely. Janus is a huge talent with an obvious affinity for the material, and Greg Burke is one of the very best writers in this space.” The news comes a couple …
Shine Pictures has a joint venture with New Regency, for whom they are producing The Gray Man, the Brad Pitt starring thriller directed by James Gray, and the feature version of bestselling Scandinavian thriller Three Seconds. The company also has a sequel to Eastern Promises set up at Focus.
After scripting such films as David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises and Stephen Frears’ Dirty Pretty Things, Steven Knight is set to make his directorial debut on his script Hummingbird. The film is set at Shine Pictures, the movie arm of Liz Murdoch’s Shine Group. Hummingbird follows a damaged ex-Special Forces soldier who finds himself trapped in the criminal underworld and assumes another man’s identity to exact revenge. 20th Century Fox will release this New Regency-financed thriller worldwide. Casting is under way on the project, which is expected to start shooting this fall. Paul Webster, who recently stepped down as Shine’s head of film, will co-produce alongside Shine, New Regency and Tracey Seaward (The Queen). Knight, Webster and Seaward worked together before on Eastern Promises. Ollie Madden from Warner Bros Entertainment UK will replace Webster as Shine’s head of film in May. Shine’s current slate includes The Gray Man, an adaptation of Mark Greaney’s thriller; Eastern Promises 2; and an adaptation of Swedish bestselling thriller 3 Seconds, with writer Matt Cook attached.
Jalfon, currently BBC Films’ commercial manager who’s considered a shrewd dealmaker, will start at Shine on January 11 overseeing finance and production for Liz Murdoch’s film operations Shine Pictures and Kudos Pictures. She will also produce and executive movies for Shine Pictures, the joint venture with Hollywood producer/financier New Regency, Shine and Kudos. At the BBC, Jalfon exec produced Streetdance 3D and In the Loop. Jalfon is leaving the BBC at the same time that BBC Films co-head Jane Wright is also quitting. I understand that Wright had become increasingly unhappy at Auntie. Shine’s next release is Brighton Rock, which UK distributor Optimum Releasing will open on February 4.