Thomas Bezucha Directing English-Language Remake Of ‘Priceless’
The Family Stone and Monte Carlo director Thomas Bezucha will helm the English-language remake of French romantic comedy Priceless for European film group uMedia. The original movie starred Audrey Tautou and Gad Emaleh and sold 2.15M tickets in France in 2006. Umedia’s remake has been greenlighted for production in early summer on the French Riviera. The story follows Alec, a shy and hardworking waiter at a grand hotel who is mistaken for a millionaire and seduced by a captivating American girl with expensive tastes. When Lauren discovers his true identity and limited resources, she takes off, but Alec pursues her along the Cote-d’Azur. When he ends up stranded and broke, he is saved by a wealthy woman-of-a-certain-age and finds himself kept in the same manner as Lauren, who coaches him on how the play the game as her feelings for him deepen. Pierre Salvadori directed the original which was sold internationally by Wild Bunch.
BBC Adds Howard Stringer Amid Corporate Changes
The BBC has announced a series of changes to transform how the corporation is run. At the same time, it has added former Sony chairman Howard Stringer as a non-executive director for a term of three years beginning January 1. The moves come a year after myriad crises began to plague the broadcaster including the Jimmy Savile child sex abuse scandal and the editorial missteps at flagship news program Newsnight. Among the changes are a 60% reduction in the number of pan-corporation management boards “so that senior managers will be able to make faster decisions and concentrate on running their teams and departments.” Decision making by multiple committees will shift to much greater personal responsibility, ensuring “there are no blurred lines,” the broadcaster said. “As a creative organization, individuals need to be able to take creative risks without fear, managers will not be penalized for brave, well-made decisions that were taken for the right reasons.” Speaking about the changes, director general, Tony Hall, said, “This is an important first step in making the BBC simpler and better run.”
Simon Pegg Joins Python Alums, Robin Williams In ‘Absolutely Anything’
Simon Pegg will topline the Terry Jones-directed comedy feature Absolutely Anything, which also features the voices of Robin Williams and four Monty Python alums. Pegg will play Neil Clarke, a disillusioned school teacher who suddenly finds he has magical powers, bestowed upon him by some aliens. The aliens will be voiced by Pythonites John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones and Michael Palin, and Williams is the voice of Clarke’ faithful dog. Preproduction will begin in February, with principal photography set to being March 23 in London. The film is being produced by Ben Timlett and Bill Jones at Bill & Ben Productions. GFM sold rights to the pic at AFM to territories including Australia, Scandinavia, Iceland, CIS, the Middle East and Singapore.
Pantelion Films Inks Multi-Pic Deal With Indomina Media
Pantelion Films, the joint venture between Lionsgate and Mexican media corporation Grupo Televisa, has entered a multi-picture agreement with Dominican Republic-based Indomina Media. The partners will co-finance and distribute up to three films a year. They have several projects in development and will utilize the recently opened Pinewood Indomina Studios in the Dominican Republic for production. Pantelion will distribute the films in the U.S.; its partners will distribute them in Latin America, with additional worldwide distribution rights to be sold at a later date. The companies previously collaborated on 2012’s Filly Brown.
ITV, BBC Reveal Plans For 2014 World Cup Coverage
ITV and the BBC have outlined their World Cup plans for next summer, when they will split the matches. ITV will show the opening match between host country Brazil and Croatia on June 12, and the BBC will kick off with Spain vs. Holland on June 13 – in a draw that pits the 2010 World Cup finalists against each other. The BBC also will have England’s first group match against Italy. ITV will then show England’s next two games against Uruguay and Costa Rica. Other group matches will alternate. The BBC will have first pick of the round of 16 and semifinals, and ITV will have first pick of the quarterfinals. Both will show the final.
BBC Four Bringing More Foreign-Language Shows To UK
BBC Four is continuing its drive to bring foreign-language programming to the UK. After success with such shows as Denmark’s Borgen and Swedish-Danish series The Bridge, the channel is adding the 1950s-set Swedish crime series Crimes Of Passion; Israel’s Hostages, upon which the U.S. show is based; and Danish historical drama 1864, which is set during the war with Prussia and centers on a pair of enlisted brothers who are in love with the same woman. It’s made by Miso Film in co-operation with DR and directed by Ole Bornedal. Crimes Of Passion is based on the crime novels of Maria Lang. Set in the magically beautiful region of Bergslagen, Sweden, the whodunits follow an amateur sleuth, his fiancée and the local police superintendent in their quest to cast a light on the murderous intent beneath the seemingly idyllic surroundings – where the killer is always one of the community. It’s made by Pampas Produktion. Hostages sees a renowned surgeon who’s about to perform a routine operation on the president of Israel, but whose family is taken hostage the night before the surgery which she is ordered to sabotage. Hostages is created by Rotem Shamir and Omri Givon and produced by Haim Sharir.
Warren Brown Stars In Matthew Webb Biopic ‘The Greatest Englishman’
Warren Brown (Luther) is to star in The Greatest Englishman. The story of Captain Matthew Webb – the first person to successfully swim the English Channel in 1875 – is a Marathon Films production. It’s directed by Justin Hardy (37 Days, Relief Of Belsen) from a screenplay by Jemma Kennedy. Webb, a retired merchant seaman, survived fierce winds, treacherous currents and multiple jellyfish stings to swim from Dover to the shores of France, a crossing that took almost 22 hours and spanned 39 miles. The Channel would not be swum again for 36 years. The film tells the story of Webb’s struggle to define himself. Also in the cast are Steve Oram (The World’s End), Hannah Tointon (The Inbetweeners), Terry Mynott, Tom Stourton and Georgia Maguire. Greatest Englishman is executive produced by James Salter for Marathon Films.
FremantleMedia Taps CEOs For Brazil And Mexico Operations
FremantleMedia has appointed of two new CEOs for its Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking operations in the Americas. Daniela Busoli has been promoted to CEO FremantleMedia Brazil, based in São Paulo, and Adrián Santucho is the new CEO of FremantleMedia Mexico, U.S. Hispanic and Pan-Regional Productions, based in Miami. Both will be responsible for the overall management of the day-to-day operation of their businesses and will drive the strategic vision for operations in their respective markets, developing and producing programming for broadcasters in their territories. Both Busoli and Santucho previously worked for Endemol in Latin America.
Southern Star Entertainment Rebranding As Endemol Australia
Southern Star Entertainment is rebranding to become Endemol Australia. The company’s slate includes drama series Offspring, Puberty Blues, Party Tricks, and Gallipoli; entertainment formats Big Brother and When Love Comes To Town; original formats Crash Test Mummies And Daddies; comedy Legally Brown; and children’s series Hairy Legs and In Your Dreams. The company will continue to create new drama and entertainment shows for the Australian and international markets, as well as producing Endemol’s big global formats. Endemol acquired Southern Star in 2009. The rebranding process will roll out during the coming weeks to be in full effect by February.