David Brent, the sad-sack paper company middle manager brought to life by Ricky Gervais in The Office, is ready for his big-screen close-up. The BBC said today that Gervais will reprise the character in Life On The Road, which will track Brent’s life in the years since the series, which aired from 2001-2003 on BBC Two. In the mockumentary-style film, he’ll be a traveling salesman of cleaning products, out to finance a UK concert tour as he tries to live his dream of becoming a rock star. Brent assumes the director is making a rockumentary, but it’s actually a “where are they now?” The film will be made in the UK but is eyed for international distribution.
E-commerce giant Alibaba Group, which filed for a U.S. IPO this year, has been making inroads to the movie business, recently taking a majority stake in ChinaVision Media Group and renaming it Alibaba Pictures Group as part of its bid to expand. In a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange, the company now has confirmed that Zhang Qiang has been named CEO of its film arm. The appointment of the former VP of China Film Group was previously floated by The Wall Street Journal. The exec has also been a producer on local hits American Dreams In China and So Young. It remains to be seen if the hiring of a former bureaucrat is the way to fulfill Alibaba’s Hollywood dreams.
NBCUniversal-owned Downton Abbey producer Carnival Films has appointed Danielle Dajani as its new Head of Production and Tara Cook as Development Producer, while promoting Phil Temple to Development Producer. Dajani joins Carnival from Raleigh Studios in Los Angeles, where she was EVP. She previously worked as VP International Physical Production and Production Finance at Walt Disney Pictures. Her other experience includes posts at Aramid Capital in London and Village Roadshow in Sydney. At Carnival she is replacing outgoing exec Kimberley Hikaka. As Development Producers, Cook and Temple will be responsible for the origination, development and sale of Carnival’s upcoming UK and international slates. Cook previously co-produced the first two series of the BBC’s Call The Midwife, having developed the show while she was Head of Development at Sam Mendes’ Neal Street Productions. More recently, she has been developing a number of projects as an independent producer including Lawless with ShondaLand/ABC.