Enhancing its original drama slate, the UK’s Sky Atlantic has come aboard to co-produce John Logan’s upcoming period series Penny Dreadful with Showtime. The psychosexual horror series features some of literature’s most frightening and iconic figures as they grapple with alienation in Victorian London. Josh Hartnett, Eva Green, Timothy Dalton, Rory Kinnear, Harry Treadaway and Reeve Carney star, with Doctor Who‘s Billie Piper the latest addition to the cast. She’ll play an Irish immigrant trying to escape a dark past. Penny Dreadful is produced for Sky Atlantic and Showtime by Neal Street Productions and Desert Wolf Productions. Logan, Sam Mendes and Pippa Harris are exec producing. Oscar-nominee Logan created and wrote the series with the first two episodes to be helmed by The Orphanage and The Impossible director Juan Antonio Bayona. Shooting starts in October at Dublin’s Ardmore Studios.
Dominic Cooper plays James Bond creator Ian Fleming in Sky Atlantic and BBC America‘s Fleming. The biopic takes a no holds barred look at the 007 master and his early life set against the permissive society of war-torn WWII London. Per BBC America, Cooper will play him as a man “whose real life was as exciting, eventful and sexually charged as his famous creation.” Also starring are Annabelle Wallis, Lara Pulver, Samuel West, Lelsley Manville, Rupert Evans and Anna Chancellor. The four-part mini debuts next year in the U.S. and the UK. Here’s a quick teaser Sky released today.
Sky Atlantic HD‘s six-episode comedy series from writer/director Robert B. Weide (Curb Your Enthusiasm), has added five cast members to join Nick Frost who’s playing the titular Mr. Sloane. Olivia Colman (Broadchurch, Hyde Park On Hudson), Ophelia Lovibond (Mr. Popper’s Penguins), Peter Serafinowicz (The Muppets… Again!) and Lawry Lewin (Horrible Histories) have boarded the bittersweet 1960s-set romantic comedy that centers on Frost’s buttoned-down man in crisis. Shooting is underway in London for a 2014 airdate. Sky Atlantic has been pushing deeper into original series, recently partnersing with Starz on drama Fortitude, with Canal Plus on The Tunnel and with BBC America on biopic Fleming.
Harry, He’s Here To Help and Lemming director Dominik Moll has come aboard to helm the The Tunnel, the Franco-British adaptation of Scandinavian series The Bridge. Shooting starts this month on the Sky Atlantic/Canal Plus co-production from Kudos Film and TV and Shine France Films in association with Filmlance. As I reported last week, the 10-part drama stars Harry Potter actress Clémence Poésy and Game Of Thrones‘ Stephen Dillane as detectives investigating the death of a French politician who are forced into an uneasy partnership as they seek out a politically-motivated serial killer. Also joining the cast are Game Of Thrones‘ Joseph Mawle, Da Vinci’s Demons‘ Tom Bateman, Dancing On The Edge and Merlin‘s Angel Coulby, Silent Witness‘ Tobi Bakare, French actors Jeanne Balibar, Thibault de Montalembert and Mathieu Carrièrre and British actor Jack Lowden. The second episode will also feature Upstairs Downstairs‘ Keeley Hawes and veteran British actress Liz Smith.
Mad Men fans in the U.S. breathed a sigh of relief last week when AMC announced an April 7 start date for the series’ sixth season. UK viewers won’t have to wait long to catch up with the show, Sky Atlantic said today. Mad Men‘s penultimate season will debut on the pay channel with the two-hour first episode on April 10 at 10PM and settle into that time slot for the remainder of the run. Executive producer Scott Hornbacher directs the premiere with the following week’s installment helmed by Jon Hamm. Sky also confirmed that castmember John Slattery will step back behind the camera to direct two episodes later in the season.
The Tunnel is the Franco-British adaptation of Scandinavian series The Bridge that’s gearing up for production next month. I’ve confirmed that Harry Potter actress Clémence Poésy and Game Of Thrones‘ Stephen Dillane have bagged the leads in what’s billed as the first-ever bilingual broadcast series for the UK and France. (UK site TVWise had the jump on the cast rumor.) The drama will be set primarily in Folkestone and Calais where detectives Karl Roebuck (Dillane) and Elise Wassermann (Poésy) are called to investigate the death of a French politician. When a shocking discovery is made at the crime scene, the pair is forced into an uneasy partnership as they seek out a politically-motivated serial killer who draws them into his own personal agenda. Ben Richards (Spooks, Outcasts, Party Animals) is heading up an Anglo-French writing team with broadcast planned for later this year. Sky Atlantic and Canal Plus are co-producing the 10-part drama from Kudos Film and TV and Shine France Films in association with Filmlance. FX recently shot a pilot starring Demian Béchir and Diane Kruger for its own U.S. version of the Hans Rosenfeldt-created show. Poésy is repped in France by Agence Elisabeth Simpson and Dillane is repped in the UK by Michelle Braidman Associates.
A group of actors including Da Vinci’s Demons’ Lara Pulver is joining the cast of Sky Atlantic/BBC America‘s biopic Fleming. The upcoming four-part drama stars Dominic Cooper as James Bond creator-author Ian Fleming and, as I reported last week, also has Annabelle Wallis lined up as Muriel Wright, the original inspiration for the Bond Girl. Sky confirms today that Pulver will play Ann O’Neill, with whom Fleming had a longterm on-off relationship before she became his wife in 1952. She is said to have heavily influenced the writer: a year after they wed, the first 007 book, Casino Royale, was published. Mr Selfridge‘s Samuel West is also aboard as Admiral John Godfrey, with whom Fleming worked during WWII and who put him in charge of Operation Golden Eye. Godfrey is generally accepted to have been the inspiration for the M character in the Bond books. British actress Lesley Manville will play Fleming’s mother Eve and British actor Rupert Evans will play his brother Peter. The Hour‘s Anna Chancellor is taking on the part of Lieutenant Monday, an inspiration for Miss Moneypenny.
Global Showbiz Briefs: NBCU-Lovefilm TV Deal, Ian Fleming Miniseries, Aussie Fracking Doc, Hong Kong Fund
NBCUniversal Inks TV Series Deal With Lovefilm
Amazon’s European service LoveFilm has secured an agreement with NBCUniversal International TV Distribution to deliver audiences on-demand access to hundreds of episodes of iconic American TV. Deal includes recent and library titles including comedies like the U.S. version of The Office starring Steve Carrell and 30 Rock starring Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin. Deal also includes NBCU science fiction dramas like Heroes as well as David Hasselhoff’s 1980s cult TV classic Knight Rider. Lovefilm’s latest major studio deal follows agreements with ABC, BBC and ITV.
EXCLUSIVE: Three U.S. networks, including at least one cable channel, are in what BSkyB calls a bidding war for Hit and Miss, its first original drama for its Sky Atlantic channel. Hit and Miss, starring Chloe Sevigny as a pre-op hitwoman, is the first original show BSkyB has made for flagship channel Sky Atlantic, which mainly airs high-profile U.S. cable series including AMC’s Mad Men and HBO’s Game of Thrones. Hit and Miss has started shooting in Manchester, England. The six-episode show is executive produced by Paul Abbott, creator of Shameless, and is helmed by feature director Hettie Macdonald. Fremantle is handling international distribution. BSkyB recently announced it plans to increase its investment in original British content by more than 50% to £600 million ($965 million) a year over the next three years. “We have a bidding war on Hit and Miss at the moment with three big U.S. entities. They’ve seen that we’ve worked on raising our game here,” Sophie Turner-Laing, BSkyB’s managing director of news and entertainment, tells me. “If we have the American market as a buyer for our shows, that gives me much more strength going to [Sky CEO] Jeremy Darroch asking for another £300 million please.”
Big Love co-star Chloe Sevigny is segueing to a new series, this time on the other side of the Atlantic. Sevigny has signed on to topline Hit and Miss, a provocative new drama from Shameless creator Paul Abbott for new satellite channel Sky Atlantic. Written by feature writer Sean Conway (Brilliant Love) and to be directed by Hettie Macdoland (Beautiful Thing), the six-episode series centers on Mia (Sevigny), a contract killer with a big secret – she is a transgender hit man who suddenly finds out that in the previous life has fathered several children. Abbott is executive producing with Nicola Shindler. This is familiar subject matter for Sevigny who earned an Oscar nomination for her role in the 1999 movie Boys Don’t Cry. For now, the actress has committed only for the initial 6 episodes. She is currently training for the role, with filming scheduled for this summer.
Hit and Miss marks the first original series for Sky Atlantic, which launched on Feb. 1 with a lineup dominated by high-profile U.S. cable series. The channel has an exclusive output deal with HBO for its series and movies, including Big Love, and also carries AMC’s Mad Men and Showtime’s Weeds. Hit and Miss is yet to be formally pitched to U.S. networks, but I hear that there is already interest. Because of Sevigny and Sky Atlantic’s ties to HBO, the pay cable network is a logical home, with Showtime also a …
LONDON: Sky today announced plans to launch Sky Atlantic HD , a new entertainment channel, in early 2011. Sky Atlantic will provide an exclusive home to some of the most hotly anticipated shows in television to customers throughout the UK and Ireland.
Following Sky and HBO’s multi-year output deal announced in July, Sky Atlantic HD will air all of HBO’s new series exclusively in the UK and Ireland including the already critically acclaimed Boardwalk Empire . The Prohibition-era drama from acclaimed director and Oscar® winner Martin Scorsese and The Sopranos‘ Emmy® Award winning writer Terence Winter features an all-star cast including Steve Buscemi , Michael Pitt and Kelly Macdonald. Boardwalk Empire made its US debut on HBO on September 19, 2010 and a UK and Ireland premiere is scheduled for February 2011. The series has already been green lit for a second season after scoring HBO’s best premiere audience for over six years.
Other upcoming HBO productions to be broadcast by Sky Atlantic HD include the fantasy drama Game of Thrones , based on the series of books A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, Luck , executive produced by David Milch and Michael Mann and starring two time Oscar® winner Dustin Hoffman , Mildred Pierce starring Oscar® winner Kate Winslet and the new series from David Simon ( The Wire ), the New Orleans set Treme , which chronicles the rebuilding of the city following the historic devastation