Studiocanal UK has acquired underwater thriller The Chamber. The feature directorial debut from Ben Parker, it will have its world premiere at London’s FrightFest later this summer. Parker previously made the short Shifter, which played at Fantastic Fest in Austin. Swedish actor Johannes Bah Kuhnke stars in his first role since breaking out internationally in Cannes Un Certain Regard winner Force Majeure. The story revolves around a special ops unit that commandeers a commercial research vessel and its submersible to locate a mysterious item at the bottom of the Yellow Sea. When an explosion causes the sub to overturn and take on water, a fight for survival ensues. Charlotte Salt (The Musketeers), James McArdle (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Elliot Levey (The Lady In The Van) also star. Producers are Jen Handorf and Paul Higgins. Executive producer is Hugh Spearing. Studiocanal UK, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this week, is setting release and further festival plans.
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In a return to acquired content, ITV has picked up Lethal Weapon, the adaptation of the classic 80s film franchise that’s due to air on Fox beginning September 21. Under a deal with Warner Bros International Television Distribution, ITV will add the series to its primetime schedule later this year. Rectify alum Clayne Crawford and Damon Wayans Sr are playing Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh, the roles originated by Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in the films. The series follows the unlikely cop duo as they police a crime-ridden section of modern LA. Kevin Rahm, Jordana Brewster, Keesha Sharp, Dante Brown, Chandler Kinney and Johnathan Fernandez also star. Matt Miller, Dan Lin, Jennifer Gwartz and McG are exec producers. Miller wrote the pilot episode, which was directed by McG.
Banijay Group has taken a minority stake in new Italian production company DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself). Formed by producers Fabrizio Ievolella, Danila Battaglini, Francesco Lauber and Leopoldo Gasparotto, the company will work to develop new properties. Combined, the producers have experience with such titles as Masterchef, The X Factor, Pechino Express, 4 Ristoranti and Undressed. Ievolella, Managing Director of DRY, said, “My business partners and I are very proud of our TV background but we have chosen the name for a specific reason. We know that experience is important but sometimes involves the risk to become stuck in a rut. That’s why our goal is not to repeat ourselves and look to invent something new.”
UK charity the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund is teaming with production company Big Talk and the LOCO London Comedy Film Festival to launch the Betty Box and Peter Rogers Comedy Writing Programme. The scheme will select four emerging writers, each of whom will receive £10,000 and participate in a personalized six-month program of industry support as they develop a comedy feature screenplay or six-part comedy series for television. This is the latest in a spate of recent programs to support talent in the UK. Big Talk will develop the works with a full read-through to be held in front of an industry audience at the LOCO fest next May. Submissions are open here until August 26. The grant is given in honor of Betty Box and Peter Rogers, the producers of the Doctor and Carry On series.
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