The UK’s revived Icon Film Distribution is adding to its release slate with four pick-ups from Cannes. IFD acquired JC Chandor’s A Most Violent Year with Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain; Equals by Drake Doremus with Nicholas Hoult and Kristen Stewart; The Legend Of Barney Thompson starring Robert Carlyle, Ray Winstone and Emma Thompson; and It Follows, the horror pic from David Robert Mitchell that ran in Critics’ Week. IFD is showing itself a savvy buyer and recently released animated feature Postman Pat: The Movie which has grossed over $4M in its first 10 days.
EXCLUSIVE: This is a cool casting. The UK’s resident renaissance man, popular British actor/comedian/writer/game show host Stephen Fry, has been tapped for a high-profile recurring role in Fox’s event series 24: Live Another Day, which will premiere May 5. The next chapter in the 24 franchise, from 20th TV, Imagine TV and Teakwood Lane, picks up the story four years after the series finale, which left Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) as a fugitive from justice, this time in London. Fry will play Prime Minister Trevor Davies, a strong and charismatic leader whose friendship with President Heller (William Devane), and the Anglo-American alliance itself, come under tremendous pressure because of personal and political crises. Fry, repped by ICM Partners and UK’s Hamilton Hodell, has a relationship with Fox and 20th after doing an arc on their drama series Bones. Next month, he will make his ninth turn hosting the BAFTA film awards.
On February 16th, Stephen Fry will mark his ninth turn as emcee for the EE British Academy Film Awards. The UK’s resident renaissance man, Fry has been a popular choice and proved an erudite, witty presence over the years who keeps things moving along apace. Last year’s BAFTA ceremony scored the show’s highest ratings for BBC One since 2004. Fry said of the hosting gig, “Despite the nerves and terror that something might go wrong and that I’ll make a fool of myself, it’s an annual event I really look forward to. I think it’s fundamentally because I love film so much. Film is one of the arts that most spreads the essence of our identity around the world, and our admiration and appreciation of global filmmaking ensures that the EE British Academy Film Awards sit comfortably on the world stage of film awards events honoring the best of the best.” BAFTA nominations will be unveiled on January 8th (the same day that Oscar nominations voting ends) with the ceremony to be held at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.
Once upon a time, studios, networks, and TV stars didn’t want anyone to see their busted pilots, preferring to send them off to die quietly — and alone, like an elephant. But a pair of failed pilots have been put online in the past two weeks — and legally too! Today, Sarah Silverman got 20th TV‘s blessing to post Susan 313, a 2012 pilot she did at the studio for NBC that was a no-go. Written by Dan Sterling and loosely based on Silverman’s life, it’s about a woman whose long-term relationship ends and she moves back into the apartment she had the foresight not to give up. Earlier this month, Greg Garcia got CBS to put online his single-camera pilot Super Clyde. That one follows a shy comic book fanatic/fast-food worker who inherits a fortune from an uncle and embarks on a new life as a superhero with the help of his butler, played by Stephen Fry. Rule of journalism: Three makes a trend!
Anyway, here is what broadcasters were NOT looking for — Susan 313 below and Super Clyde here.
When the British Academy of Film and Television Arts holds its annual film awards next year, things will look slightly different. After 15 years partnered with telecom group Orange, the BAFTAs are now hooking up with mobile operator and internet provider, EE, which is a sister brand of Orange. The ceremony will henceforth be referred to as the EE British Academy Film Awards. The annual Orange Wednesdays Rising Star Award will also drop the old label and become the EE Rising Star Award. BAFTA nominations will be announced January 9. Stephen Fry will return to host the awards ceremony on February 10.
Actor, comedian, raconteur and all around renaissance man Stephen Fry posted a tweet on his Twitter account earlier today teasing his followers with news that he and his once and future comedy partner Hugh Laurie are “cooking up a project together. We will be working again soon.” He apologized for having no other details, but said he would offer more when he can. Laurie is just coming off his epic run on Fox’s House, so it may surprise many people in the U.S. that Laurie is, in fact, British, and is still best known there for doing comedy, particularly with Fry. They starred together in the sketch comedy show A Bit of Fry & Laurie, which ran from 1989 to 1995 at various time on BBC1 and BBC2. The two men, along with Emma Thompson, met while all attended University of Cambridge. All three of them – and others from that generation of British actors – were part of the ensemble cast of Kenneth Branagh’s Peter’s Friends in 1992.
Resident UK renaissance man Stephen Fry is returning to British drama in the adaptation of Ian Rankin’s Doors Open. The ITV-commissioned 2-hour film is produced by Fry’s Sprout Pictures. He’ll star with Scottish actor Dougie Henshall in the art heist project. The story follows a self-made millionaire, an art professor and a banker who undertake a scheme to swap a priceless Edinburgh art collection with forgeries and make off with the goods. Fry is playing the professor, Henshall is the millionaire. Further cast will be announced soon. James Mavor and Sandi Toksvig adapted the book. Marc Evans (Collision, Hunky Dory) is directing, Jon Finn (Billy Elliot) is producing and executive producers are Sprout’s Gina Carter, Fry and Toksvig. Shooting starts on April 23 in Scotland.
Jeremy Clarkson Strikes Again, Fry’s A Gentleman
The BBC has put an episode of Stephen Fry’s game show QI on the shelf following remarks made by Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson last week. The episode of the intellectual comedy quiz show, which Clarkson taped this past summer, was due to air tonight in the UK. But appearing on the BBC’s The One Show last week, Clarkson prompted outrage when he commented on the recent public workers strike in Britain, “I would have them taken outside and executed them in front of their families.” Clarkson apologized in due course, but he’s no stranger to this kind of controversy. Earlier this year Top Gear was criticized over comments about Mexicans which were perceived as racist. The Guardian has a compilation of Clarkson’s most famous flubs titled “Jeremy Clarkson: big mouth strikes again.” Meanwhile, I checked Stephen Fry’s Twitter feed to see if he’d made any comment about the network’s decision to shelve the show, but he’s been busy promoting the Sherlock Holmes sequel in which he plays Holmes’ brother Mycroft and which premiered last night in London. He did, however, point to a new poll in which Winston Churchill was voted the greatest British gentleman of the 20th century, followed by filmmaker Richard Attenborough and … Stephen Fry.
New Appointments At Sky, National Geographic
Phil Edgar Jones has been named head of entertainment for Sky. He will have oversight on the bouquet of channels that includes Sky 1, Sky Arts and Sky Living. He will also commission shows for Sky Movies and the recently launched Sky Atlantic which is airing a host of HBO shows. Edgar Jones was previously creative director of independent producer Running Bare and creative director of Remarkable Pictures where he exec produced Big Brother on Channel 4. In related news, Hamish Mykura has been named executive vice president and head of international content for National Geographic Channels International. The former head of documentaries for Channel 4 will also become the London head of global development for National Geographic Channel. Mykura will oversee editorial development and production for the company and will supervise NGCI’s networks NGC, Nat Geo Wild and Nat Geo Adventure.
3D Conversion Of Paramount’s ‘Top Gun’ In The Works
Another blockbuster is getting the 3D conversion treatment, it seems. Top Gun, Tony Scott’s iconic 1986 film starring Tom Cruise, is being re-formatted for a possible 2012 release by Paramount. That was the word from Legend3D CEO Rob Hummel, speaking today at the International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam, where he presented a 4-minute clip in the new format. “I think Top Gun lends itself to 3D due to the aerial flight,” Hummel said. “You can have fun with 3D by bringing things off the screen if they are not attached to the edge of the screen.” Hummel said that the studio wanted to get Scott’s approval before proceeding, while Paramount said there had been no talk of a release date. If the redo of the blockbuster does materialize, it will be on top of 3D conversions of The Lion King, set for release later this month, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and Titanic.
Vicki Jackways To Represent New Zealand In Hollywood
New Zealand is reaching out to Hollywood in a bid to lure more film shoots and facilitate U.S. co-productions. Film New Zealand and Park Road Post Production are teaming on an initiative that will see Park Road’s marketing chief Vicki Jackways working to heighten New Zealand’s Hollywood presence next year when she comes to L.A. in a semi-permanent capacity. New Zealand is on Hollywood’s location map and has an established effects and post-production infrastructure. It famously served as Middle Earth for The Lord of the Rings trilogy. “Thanks to the talents and entrepreneurship of our screen industry across the country, and the backing of successive governments, New Zealand has built a remarkable reputation as a film-making culture. Los Angeles-based representation is an important next step in taking full advantage of this reputation.”
Netflix CEO: Two Years Until We See Profit In Mexico
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings estimated today that it will take two years before his firm sees any returns from Mexico. “We are going to lose money for a while … it will take a lot of subscribers to get to profitability,” he said at a Mexico City news conference to mark the launch, part of a previously announced Latin American expansion. He declined to say how many subscribers it would take to get into the black but expressed confidence that the bandwidth commonly available in Mexico, markedly lower than that common to the U.S., would be viable. Netflix will charge $8 for a monthly subscription in Mexico. Local broadcasters TV Azteca and will make some of their content available through Netflix in Mexico, he said.