EXCLUSIVE: New Regency and BBC Films have taken on rights to red-hot feature script His House, I understand. First-time UK writer-director Remi Weekes’ elevated genre title hit the headlines last summer when it became caught in a $10M ownership lawsuit launched by The Weinstein Company. Senior management at The Weinstein Company have now confirmed to me that the lawsuit will not be going ahead and the project is free to take off with its new backers.
I gather those backers have now set rising duo Wunmi Mosaku (Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them) and Sope Dirisu (The Huntsman: Winter’s War) to star in the film, which will have a major budget for a first-time UK filmmaker of close to $10M. Shoot is being lined up for this spring in the UK.
Vertigo Entertainment’s Roy Lee (It) is producing alongside Martin Gentles and Edward King of Starchild Pictures (Howl), and New Regency’s Arnon Milchan (The Revenant). Stuart Manashil and Steven Schneider will serve as executive producers as will BBC Films’ Eva Yates. New Regency will finance and Fox will have world-wide distribution rights, per the duo’s deal.
The elevated horror follows a young refugee couple who make a harrowing escape from war-torn Sudan but then struggle to adjust to their new life in a small English town that has an evil lurking beneath the surface. I gather the script is poetic and gripping at the same time and a number of people close to it have remarked that Weekes is a real talent to watch. All in all it’s sounding like a classy genre affair, further bolstered by the hiring of casting director Carmen Cuba, known for her work on Stranger Things, Now You See Me and The Florida Project.
This is the first time 12 Years A Slave outfit New Regency has reached into the UK to finance the movie of a debut filmmaker. Earlier this year the company set a first-look deal with UK and Australia based See-Saw (The King’s Speech) and I understand it could be looking to grow its international footprint.
Weekes was a co-founder of Tell No One, a production outfit specializing in experimental short-form videos. His first short, Tickle Monster, commissioned by Film4 for Channel4, had its U.S. premiere at SXSW last year. He also picked up the Sundance Institute’s NHK Award for His House. Last year the project appeared on the BloodList of hot genre scripts.
Mosaku is known for Netflix’s The End Of The F***Ing World, ITV’s Vera, and BBC Two miniseries Moses Jones. She also has a starring role in the upcoming season of Luther alongside Idris Elba. In 2017, she won a BAFTA TV Award for Best Supporting Actress in Damilola, Our Loved Boy. Feature roles include Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them and Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice.
Dirisu began his career as a theater actor but has recently been seen in ITV 1’s Next Of Kin in a recurring role, and 2017 Netflix film Sand Castle alongside Nicholas Hoult and Henry Cavill. He was also in The Huntsman: Winter’s War and BBC1’s Undercover.
Weekes is repped by Independent Talent Agency and Carlos Goodman of Bloom, Hergott, Diemer, Rosenthal, LaViolette, Feldman, Schenkman & Goodman. Mosaku is repped by Scott Marshall Partners, The Gersh Agency and Principal Entertainment LA and Dirisu is repped by Markham, Froggatt and Irwin.