EXCLUSIVE: In recent weeks, intrigue has been building in the UK industry about the local remake of French hit Call My Agent! (Dix Pour Cent in France), but cast and plot details have been a tightly guarded secret.
Starring will be Tony-nominated actress Lydia Leonard (Absentia) as Rebecca, in a role loosely based on Camille Cottin’s character Andréa Martel; Jack Davenport (Pirates Of The Caribbean) will play Jonathan, in a role loosely based on character Mathias Barneville; Maggie Steed (Chewing Gum) will be Stella; Prasanna Puwanarajah (Patrick Melrose) plays Dan; and newcomers Harry Trevaldwyn (The King) will be Ollie and Hiftu Quasem (Killing Eve) will play Misha.
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Also starring will be Fola Evans-Akingbola (Siren), Rebecca Humphries (Trigonometry), Tim McInnerny (The Serpent), newcomer Eleanor Arnaud (Nu), and Oscar-winner Jim Broadbent (Iris).
We understand that a host of A-list Brit and U.S. guest stars have been lined up across the series, which will be made up of eight one hour episodes and shoot until September.
The adaptation will retain the essence of the French series (which has found global success on Netflix) where a Parisian talent agency’s employees must scramble to keep their star clients happy and their business afloat after the sudden death of their founder. However, the remake will incorporate Morton’s British sensibility (it’s hard not to view this as a brilliant pairing of subject and creative) and introduce some new storylines.
Exec producer Christian Baute (The Man In The High Castle), Company Director for Headline Pictures, is shepherding the remake with Bron’s David Davoli and Samantha Thomas.
Baute is well placed to tackle the subject, being a French and English-speaking film and TV vet who splits his time between Paris and London. He told us: “I first watched the show on TV in France back in 2015 and fell in love with it straight away. I immediately thought it would be a slam dunk in English and I went to speak to the French studio. Sometimes people think comedies don’t travel well but when there’s the right mix of comedy and drama and a strong story they absolutely can travel. The appeal of the show comes a lot from its very flawed characters who band together as a community to get things done against the odds. The show ultimately expresses humanity in a very sweet way.”
The remake’s Anglicisations will include a greater focus on Transatlantic industry relationships, and include nods to Brit obsessions such as the class system.
“John went to speak to UK agencies and agents and this adaptation is inspired by stories he heard, as well as by books and interviews,” Baute continued.
The tone will remain humorous, we are told, despite numerous agency indiscretions coming to light in recent years as part of the industry’s reckoning with inappropriate behaviour. “Bad behaviour is implicit in the show but not an explicit storyline”, says Baute. “We see human beings, not only mean executives. It’s in the background, but not the focus of our story.”
President of Bron Television David Davoli adds: “There is a whimsical nature to John’s writing and an authenticity to his characters that is sure to resonate with audiences around the world. It is because of John’s writing that we have attracted such strong talent in front of and behind the camera. We are thrilled to be working with Headline Pictures and the fantastic crews in the UK to breathe life into a wonderful show.”
Bron is handling world sales and we hear the Joker and Judas And The Black Messiah financier-producer is close to tying up deals in key markets. Interest is high from streamers and traditional broadcasters.
Morton, whose popular BBC mockumentary W1A ran for three seasons, is writing and directing the first two episodes and executive-producing.
Other writers on the series are Bryce Hart, who is also associate producer, Ella Road, Cat Clarke, Abigail Wilson and Keith Akushie, with Tom Williams acting as story editor. Jessica Swale, Sam Leifer, and M.J. Delaney are attached to direct later episodes with Baz Irvine on board as director of photography, Candida Otton on board as production designer and Rachel Freck casting.
Executive producers are David Davoli, Samantha Thomas, Steven Thibault and Aaron L. Gilbert, for Bron Studios, Christian Baute, Frank Calderon and Laurence Lenica for Headline Pictures, and David Tanner from Turbine Studios. Sarah Curtis is producer and Ben Rimmer is co-producer, with Bron’s Emma Fleischer on as supervising producer.
Call My Agent!‘s original producers Aurélien Larger and Harold Valentin of Mother Productions and Dominique Besnehard and Michel Feller of Mon Voisin Productions, are also executive producers.
Reports have been that a fifth season of the French original is in the works, as well as a feature.
Bron recently sold Irish crime drama Kin, also produced with Headline, to AMC+. Headline is best known for co-developing and co-producing Amazon’s The Man In The High Castle and for movies such as Quartet and The Invisible Woman.
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