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Film4′s Tessa Ross To Step Down; Veteran Exec Named Chief Of National Theatre

By | Wednesday March 26, 2014 @ 10:02am PDT

tessa dannyIn a major shake-up at the top of the UK industry, respected veteran Film4 head Tessa Ross is leaving her post to become Chief Executive of the National Theatre. Ross, whose most recent official title is Controller of Channel 4 Film and Drama, has headed up Film4, the feature division of the network, for more than a decade. She is considered one of the most powerful executives in the UK business and so integral to it that she is sometimes referred to as the “Mother of British filmmaking.” Film4 is one of the biggest supporters of the UK industry and under Ross has developed and financed such Oscar winners as 12 Years A Slave, Slumdog Millionaire and The Last King Of Scotland.

12-Years-a-Slave-posterCommenting on her departure, Channel 4 CEO David Abraham said, “Tessa’s job is one of the most coveted in film, both in the UK and internationally, and while she leaves big shoes to fill, we will shortly begin the task of identifying a new leader for the next chapter of Film4’s story. Meanwhile our commitment to investing in independent British film remains undimmed and we have every intention of building on the extraordinary reputation Tessa has created.” A peek at Film4′s credits is a who’s who of independent filmmaking talent. The upcoming slate includes Richard Ayoade’s The Double, Yann Demange’s ‘71, Daniel Wolfe’s Catch Me Daddy, Mike Leigh’s Mr Turner, Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank, Sarah Gavron’s Suffragette, and Todd Haynes’ Carol starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. The company’s previous credits have included Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant, Bart Layton’s The Imposter, Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths, Chris Morris’ Four Lions, Leigh’s Another Year, Ayoade’s Submarine, Paddy Considine’s Tyrannosaur, McQueen’s Hunger and Shame, and Meryl Streep-starrer The Iron Lady; all under Ross.

NationalTheatre_white on blackShe will remain at Film4 until September, and will stay on as Chair of the Growth Fund Advisory Council once in her new role. She will join the National in November, working alongside current artistic director Nicholas Hytner. She will formally become CEO, sharing the leadership of the National with Rufus Norris, when he becomes artistic director in April 2015. Read More »

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Tessa Ross To Receive BAFTA’s Outstanding British Contribution To Cinema Award

By | Tuesday January 29, 2013 @ 12:46am PST

Channel 4 film and drama controller Tessa Ross heads up Film4, the feature division of the network that’s given a boost to such filmmakers as Stephen Daldry, Steve McQueen, Paddy Considine, Martin McDonagh and Richard Ayoade. Sometimes referred to as the “Mother of British filmmaking,” her recent exec producer credits include Seven Psycopaths, The Iron Lady and Shame. She’ll receive the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award at the BAFTA Film Awards ceremony on February 10. Among Film4′s upcoming productions are Danny Boyle’s Trance, Anton Corbijn’s A Most Wanted Man, Ayoade’s The Double, Michael Winterbottom’s The Look Of Love and Kevin Macdonald’s How I Live Now. On the TV side, such series as Shameless, White Teeth and The Devil’s Whore have been commissioned during her tenure. Earlier in her career, Ross worked at the BBC and was a British Film Institute governor.

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Woody Harrelson Joins Martin McDonagh’s ‘Seven Psychopaths’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Woody Harrelson, Tom Waits and Olga Kurylenko have joined Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken in Seven Psychopaths. Directed and scripted by In Bruges’ Martin McDonagh, the film began production this week in Los Angeles. CBS Films is co-financing and distributing in the U.S.

Farrell plays a screenwriter who struggles to find the handle on his script, called Seven Psychopaths. He gets drawn into the dog-napping escapades of his friends (played by Rockwell and Walken). Once the beloved Shih Tzu owned by a psychopathic gangster (Harrelson) goes missing, the screenwriter finds himself fueled with all the drama he needs for his screenplay, if he can stay alive long enough to write it all down. The film’s produced by Graham Broadbent and Peter Czernin, with Tessa Ross exec producing. It’s a production of Blueprint Pictures, and Film4 is co-financing with the BFI Film Fund and CBS Films. Hanway Films is handling foreign sales. Mickey Rourke, who had been in negotiations for a role, never closed a deal and will not be in the picture. Harrelson and Kurylenko are repped by CAA, Waits by WME.

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No ‘Expendables’ Sequel For Mickey Rourke; He’s In Talks For Martin McDonagh’s ‘Seven Psychopaths’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Mickey Rourke is negotiating to star with Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken in Seven Psychopaths, the next film by In Bruges writer/director Martin McDonagh. That means Rourke will not be reprising his role in the Simon West-directed The Expendables 2. Rourke did the first film as a favor to director Sylvester Stallone, but  it doesn’t sound like there was a big financial incentive to return for a reprise on the surprise hit.

Rourke, who next stars alongside Henry Cavill in Relativity’s big ticket Tarsem Singh-directed Immortals, will instead spend the fall joining McDonagh and his In Bruges star Farrell, who plays a screenwriter in Los Angeles who struggles to find the handle on his script, called Seven Psychopaths. The screenwriter gets drawn into the dognapping escapades of his friends (played by Rockwell and Walken). Once the beloved Shih Tzu owned by a psychopathic gangster goes missing, the screenwriter finds himself fueled with all the drama he needs for his screenplay, if he can stay alive long enough to write it all down. The ICM-repped Rourke is trying to get back to the awards season form he found himself in a couple of years ago when he got Oscar-nominated for The Wrestler. McDonagh got nominated for his In Bruges script.

CBS Films acquired the rights to distribute Seven Psychopaths in … Read More »

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CBS Films In Deal For Martin McDonagh’s ‘Seven Psychopaths’ With Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell And Chris Walken

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: CBS Films is negotiating to co-finance Seven Psychopaths, the next film by In Bruges writer/director Martin McDonagh. CBS Films will distribute the film in the United States. The film reunites McDonagh with his In Bruges star Colin Farrell, who plays a screenwriter who struggles to find the handle on his script, called Seven Psychopaths. He gets drawn into the dognapping escapades of his friends (played by Rockwell and Walken). Once the beloved Shih Tzu owned by a psychopathic gangster goes missing, the screenwriter finds himself fueled with all the drama he needs for his screenplay, if he can stay alive long enough to write it all down. The film’s produced by Graham Broadbent and Peter Czernin, with Tessa Ross set as executive producer. CBS Films executive vice president Scott Shooman will oversee it when it shoots in Los Angeles this fall.

CBS Films, whose president/CEO Amy Baer just finalized her exit to produce for the company starting in late October, has made a strong effort under COO Wolfgang Hammer to supplement its home grown pictures with films that are acquired either finished or at script stage. CBS Films began its acquisitions uptick with The Mechanic, and recently made the big deal of the 2011 Toronto Film Festival acquiring Salmon Fishing in the Yemen for north of $5 million. CBS Films also made a script stage acquisition of the Colin Firth-Cameron … Read More »

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