EXCLUSIVE: Film and TV financier Silver Reel has beaten studio A24 in a bidding war for the rights to make a television spin-off of British director Jonathan Glazer’s cult sci-fi feature Under The Skin.
The Silver Reel deal comes after the producer originally bankrolled the 2013 Scarlett Johansson movie alongside Film4 and the BFI, and brings to a head its protracted attempts to get a television series off the ground.
Silver Reel was involved in appointing administrators last year to wind up Under The Skin‘s production vehicle Seventh Kingdom Productions. Insolvency company Cork Gully was put in charge of selling Seventh Kingdom’s assets, including the TV rights.
Deadline reported in January that Silver Reel and A24 were both making rival bids for the rights, and late last month, Cork Gully awarded the TV and film assets to Silver Reel, according to company filings.
The financier bid £730,500 ($906,000) in cash and credit for the film collateral and reserved rights, which includes spin-offs of the Under The Skin brand. A24 offered $175,000 in cash for the film rights and a first option on the TV rights, with $210,000 in other payments being triggered should a show be commissioned.
In a report on the sale, Cork Gully said Silver Reel’s bid was closer to its independently secured valuation of £756,000. It added: “Because Silver Reel is closer to the project, the joint administrators’ considered that there was less transaction risk in that option.”
Silver Reel CEO Claudia Bluemhuber told Deadline that the television series will draw a lot from the Michel Faber novel on which Under The Skin was based, but will be “very respectful” of Glazer’s feature. “We have writers in mind and we are talking to the various agencies for writers at the moment. We would like the writer to be British,” she added.
The film won awards and critical acclaim for its story about an alien, played by Johansson, who preys on men in Scotland. It received an 85% Rotten Tomatoes score and secured five-star reviews from the likes of The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph, the latter of which called it a “masterpiece.”
Glazer and Under The Skin producer James Wilson’s creative involvement in any future TV series is unclear. They have discussed the idea of a spin-off with Bluemhuber for years, but have never considered it a front-burner project. Wilson and Glazer’s next project is an untitled Holocaust feature, on which they are collaborating with A24, Film4 and Access Entertainment.
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