Global Showbiz Briefs: Christopher Eccleston To Guard ITV’s ‘Safe House’; Martin Freeman In ‘The Eichmann Show’; More

Christopher Eccleston has been cast with Marsha Thomason (White Collar) and Paterson Joseph (The Leftovers) in ITV’s new four-part drama series Safe House. Produced by Eleventh Hour Films, Safe House is a thriller set in the wilderness of England’s Lake District. Eccleston plays Robert, a former detective who is asked by a close friend and police officer to turn his family’s remote guest house into a safe house. Their first ‘guests’ are a family in fear of their lives after they are violently attacked. For Robert, protecting them resurrects fears and anxieties bound up in a terrifying night gone wrong with a star witness. As a consequence of running the safe house, Robert begins to questions the incident and uncovers a web of lies. Inspired by a real couple, Safe House is written by Michael Crompton (Kidnap & Ransom, Carrie’s War), and directed by Marc Evans (Hinterland, Collision). Andrew Benson (Strikeback, Mad Dogs) is producer. It is being developed by Eleventh Hour Films’ Paula Cuddy, who is also an executive producer alongside Jill Green. The cast will also include Jason Merrells (Emmerdale), Nicola Stephenson (All At Sea), and Peter Ferdinando (Doctor Who).

martin freemanMartin Freeman is set to star in feature-length drama The Eichmann Show, part of the BBC’s televised Holocaust Memorial Day events marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The BBC Two drama will co-star Anthony LaPaglia and covers the televising of the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann — one of the key architects of the Holocaust. Described as the “trial of the century”, it was shown on TV in 37 countries over four months and was the first time the horror of the death camps had been heard live, directly from victims. The trial became the world’s first ever global TV event. Freeman plays producer Milton Fruchtman who captured the testimony of one of the war’s most notorious Nazis and LaPaglia plays Director Leo Hurwitz.

Oliver Simon and Daniel Baur’s K5 International is boosting its UK presence by expanding its London operation and taking international rights to Tom Harper’s thriller War Book. The company is moving Munich-based exec Kathrin Schöftenhuber to London as it eyes more UK-based projects. Schöftenhuber has a mandate to broaden the production, finance and sales outfit’s connections within the UK sector and to secure more British-made product. War Book, which is directed by Woman In Black: Angel Of Death’s Harper, and written by Jack Thorne (How I Live Now), will world premiere at the London Film Festival this month. It’s produced by Lauren Dark with Mike Brett and Steve Jamison’s Archer’s Mark, in association with Ivana MacKinnon’s Stray Bear Films. The thriller stars Sophie Okonedo, Phoebe Fox, Ben Chaplin, Anthony Sher, Kerry Fox and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett. It follows a chilling war game amongst a group of government officials. As it reaches boiling point, their hypothetical global crisis escalates and the fragility of everyday life and those who govern it is brutally exposed.

imelda-stauntonPaddington, the David Heyman-produced mix of live action and CGI animation about the curious Peruvian bear, has added Michael Gambon and Imelda Staunton to its voice cast. Gambon will be Paddington’s Uncle Pastuzo, and Staunton will play his Aunt Lucy. Ben Whishaw is voicing the titular ursine after replacing Colin Firth this summer. Nicole Kidman, Hugh Bonneville, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Julie Walters, and Sally Hawkins also star. The film debuts in the UK in November.

DNA Films’ television production arm DNA TV has hired Tom Winchester as Head of TV Development. On the feature side DNA has credits that include 28 Weeks Later, Sunshine On Leith and Thomas Vinterberg’s upcoming Far From the Madding Crowd. Many film companies in the UK are now segueing into television to take advantage of the strong local and international market. Winchester’s previous posts include Drama Coordinator at Tiger Aspect Productions and Script Editor at Mammoth Screen Productions. He developed the ITV series Endeavour and was later Head of Development at Bentley, overseeing script development for drama Midsomer Murders. DNA TV has a first-look deal with Fox Network Group.

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