EXCLUSIVE: British screenwriter Jack Thorne is teaming with War & Peace director Tom Harper for The Aeronauts, a period action adventure based on true events about two 19th century hot air balloonists. The project is only at a spec script stage, and the duo are out to top producers for what is sure to be one of the hottest projects floating around the UK this week.

Details are being kept under wraps, but I’m hearing it’s about the journey of a young woman and a young man in a hot air balloon who go higher than anyone has ever gone before.

Thorne is one of the most sought-after writers in the UK. Earlier this year he signed on to adapt Philip Pullman’s epic trilogy of fantasy novels His Dark Materials for BBC One, with New Line Cinema producing the event series with UK-U.S. production firm Bad Wolf. He first broke out on the scene for his work on youth-oriented series Skins and has won four BAFTA TV awards for This Is England ’88, The Fades, Don’t Take My Baby and This Is England ’90. He co-wrote A Long Way Down with Nick Hornby and recently wrote Sky Atlantic’s well-received crime series The Last Panthers. He also wrote the play Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling.

TomHarper
BBC

Harper is also hot property at the moment, thanks to his work on BBC miniseries War & Peace, which aired to rave reviews. His TV credits include Peaky Blinders, Misfits and This Is England ’86 and he recently was tapped to direct the opening episode of AMC’s straight-to-series drama The Son, from Sonar Entertainment and AMC Studios.

On the film side, Harper has directed Hammer Films’ The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death as well as The Scouting Book for Boys and War Book, the latter two both written by Thorne — meaning Aeronauts will be the third time the duo have joined forces.

Thorne is repped by WME and Casarotto Ramsay & Associates. Harper is repped by WME and 42.