Hello, and welcome to International Insider — happy Euro 2020 day! Jake Kanter with you, as usual, bringing you all the news, views, and analysis from the world of film and TV. Please do get in touch with feedback or stories on [email protected] And to get this delivered directly to your inbox every Friday, sign up here.
Cannes Market Heats Up
Cooking up a storm: The online Cannes market doesn’t get underway until July 21, but things are already heating up ahead of the superbowl of movie sales. My colleagues have been hoovering up scoops on some of the hot packages hitting the French Riviera. Here are a few of note:
- Andreas Wiseman got the skinny on Marlowe, the Storyboard Media and CAA Media Finance-backed noir thriller about Raymond Chandler’s iconic detective Philip Marlowe, which is set to star Liam Neeson. Oscar-winner Neil Jordan (The Crying Game) will direct Oscar-winner William Monahan’s (The Departed) script. Full scoop.
- In another Wiseman exclusive, he brought you details of Gemma Arterton being cast as Jackie Kennedy in 37 Heavens. Repped by Metro International, it charts the relationship between Kennedy and British diplomat Lord David Harlech, who will be played by Mare Of Easttown star Guy Pearce. Read all about it.
- Also revving its engines ahead of the market is a documentary on ex-Formula One champ Damon Hill from Alex Holmes, director of BAFTA-nominated Maiden. Independent Entertainment is handling sales. Go deeper.
- Pictured above is the first look at under-the-radar UK psychological thriller She Will, the debut film from UK artist and filmmaker Charlotte Colbert with an original score from Black Swan and Requiem For A Dream composer Clint Mansell. Rocket Science is distributing. Full story.
- In other news, Protagonist Pictures lifted the lid on Anne Hathaway rom-com She Came To Me, while Anton will shop horror-thriller CURS>R, starring Sex Education’s Asa Butterfield.
- And finally, this one should be fascinating: Rose Byrne is set to play New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in They Are Us. Andrew Niccol will write and direct the project, which is repped by FilmNation Entertainment. Diana Lodderhose had the story.
International Insider: #MeToo In UK TV; Cannes Line-Up; John Boyega Quits Netflix Film; BAFTA TV Awards
Reaching the summit: Last week, I asked if British TV is having its #MeToo moment. This week, we seem to have an unequivocal answer after BAFTA and Time’s Up UK called for an urgent industry summit on dealing with historical allegations of sexual misconduct. Quite what shape this summit takes is yet to be determined, but with the backing of two influential bodies, and the support of the BFI, it seems likely that others will agree to participate. Read our scoop.
What will be on the agenda? In the wake of accusations against Noel Clarke and comedy producer Charlie Hanson, Time’s Up UK wants the industry to establish an independent unit for dealing with historical allegations of sexual impropriety. This body, it said, would be a safe space for people to report allegations and it would have the power to investigate when the evidence points to a pattern of behavior. Furthermore, Time’s Up wants intimacy coaches to become mandatory on shoots.
A loud voice: In April, Brit auteur Michaela Coel stood by the women who leveled allegations at Clarke. This week, she tweeted Deadline’s story about Time’s Up UK’s proposals for change, and used her BAFTA TV Awards acceptance speech to heap praise on the work of intimacy coordinators. There can be little doubt that she has become a leading campaigner for women who have faced abuse at the hands of predatory men.
We see you: All this week, the words of Coel’s I May Destroy You character Arabella have been ringing in my ear. In a monologue to her rape support group, Arabella says: “We see you Bob, and if we see you it means we’re with you, tiptoeing in the line right behind you, and in that place where rules, clarity, law and separation cease to exist, we will explain exactly what we mean, by violation.” It may well resonate with the brave women coming forward with their stories.
B-Side’s A-List Launch
There’s a big new agent in town, and its name is B-Side Management. Andreas Wiseman and Nancy Tartaglione pulled the curtain back on the venture this Wednesday, revealing that it is headed by four former Troika reps (Kate Morrison, Matimba Kabalika, Sarah Stephenson, and Sam Fox) and has ambitions to push into film and TV production. Read the full exclusive.
The client list: It’s basically a who’s who of British talent. Top names include Daniel Kaluuya, Jenna Coleman, Peter Capaldi, Karen Gillan, Keeley Hawes, and Matt Smith. Other names include Rafe Spall, Joe Cole, Maxine Peake, Matt Berry, Holliday Grainger, Nabhaan Rizwan, and Daisy Haggard.
Jumping ship: B-Side Management’s inception means nearly all of blue-chip drama outfit Troika’s agents have left YMU Group, taking their considerable talent rosters with them. YMU Group was born in 2018 when private equity firm Trilantic bought UK agency James Grant Group, which had merged with Troika the year before. The defections are a story worthy of Call My Agent!.
Bectu Member Faces Racism Allegations
Allegations reported: Our Tom Grater reported this week on Ken Ashley-Johnson, a film and TV grip who has been suspended by his union Bectu after alleged racially insensitive behavior on the set of a music video for the British rapper Shygirl. Tom got hold of a letter from producers on the shoot, which detailed allegations including that Ashley-Johnson used the N-word during filming, referred to Black people as “the Blacks,” said the U.S. is “stuck on slavery,” and greeted others in the “caricature of a Jamaican Patois accent.” Read the full story here.
The grip’s response: Ashley-Johnson, who is white and has worked on shoots including the James Bond film Spectre, did not respond to Deadline’s request for comment. In the letter obtained by Tom, however, producers detailed their version of how he reacted when confronted with the allegations after being dismissed from the Shygirl shoot. According to the letter, the grip excused his actions by claiming that many of his friends are Black, and that he was from a neighborhood of London that has a large ethnic minority community, before adding that “you can’t say anything these days” and “political correctness was going too far.” He is also reported to have been “quite threatening” when leaving.
Bother for Bectu: The incident is particularly concerning for Bectu for two reasons. Firstly, Ashley-Johnson is not just an ordinary member — he is the chair of the union’s grip branch, meaning he occupies a position of influence at the industry body. Secondly, Bectu has been at the forefront of work tackling bullying, harassment, and discrimination in the business, particularly in light of the pandemic, which has brought added stress to working environments. It has launched an investigation into Ashley-Johnson’s alleged behavior. “There is no place for racism in the creative industries or in trade unions,” Bectu said. “We have taken decisive action, immediately starting our disciplinary process to deal with this case. We are also in touch with the production company and the complainants about next steps.” We’ll have more as we get it.
Battle lines: Regular International Insider readers will know that we have been chronicling the knotty saga at super-producer Tinopolis Group, which is at war with a bunch of furious former producers, who say they are owed around £50 million ($70M) by the Hell’s Kitchen studio. It’s all the result of a complex and controversial financial restructuring undertaken by Tinopolis management in March, which has left the company open to a potential lawsuit from the disgruntled ex-producers, such as Magical Elves founders Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz.
The offer: In a bid to head off the legal action, Tinopolis has tabled an amended peace deal of £5,000 or part of a 5% share in Tinopolis Group Limited, the new management-owned company created in the financial restructuring. Those involved have until June 28 to accept the terms. Here’s our full story.
Will they bite? No, is the short answer. Sources we have spoken to remain incandescent and the producers are continuing talks with a barrister about legal recourse. Some are owed tens of millions of pounds, for which £5,000 (or a tiny stake in the new group) is a meager return.
Daybroke? In other Tinopolis news this week, the production group will be looking at what the future holds for its scripted producer Daybreak Pictures after co-founders David Aukin and Hal Vogel exited after 15 years. Tinopolis said it has “no plans” to close the company, which is behind BAFTA-winning Riz Ahmed series Britz and Justin Kurzel’s True History of the Kelly Gang, which starred Russell Crowe (pictured above). As for Vogel, he has set up shop at Slate Entertainment, his new venture with Ringside Media, the investment vehicle backed by France’s Newen. He will continue to collaborate with former business partner Aukin on future projects. Read our full scoop.
🌶️ Hot one of the week: Studiocanal is reuniting the BAFTA-winning and Oscar-nominated team behind Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy to adapt spy author Dave Hutchinson’s Fractured Europe Sequence novels into a major television series. Read our scoop.
🍿 International box office: New Line/Warner Bros’ The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It led the international box office with $26.8M from 43 markets, while Paramount’s A Quiet Place Part II saw its sophomore frame add $19.2M. Nancy Tartaglione has the details.
🗣️ Big interview: We sat down with Endeavor Content’s TV sales chief Prentiss Fraser, who spoke in detail for the first time about how she has transformed the company’s distribution regime. She also announced a raft of sales for Normal People’s follow-up series Conversations With Friends. Full piece here.
✍️ Done deal: Discovery and Liberty Global-owned super-producer All3Media has completed the acquisition of Nordic Entertainment Group’s NENT Studios UK. Read more.
🚘 Cannes’ blockbuster: We finally learned that Universal’s F9 (pictured above) is the mystery studio movie that Cannes General Delegate Thierry Frémaux has been teasing for a few weeks. It will premiere at the fest before its launch in French cinemas on July 14. Full story.
📝 International Critics Line: Todd McCarthy watched Vietnamese box office sensation Dad, I’m Sorry. “This is a disputatious comedy-drama with a thick sentimental streak,” he writes. Read Todd’s review here.
🚚 On the move: WarnerMedia has hired Joel Kennedy to the role of director of local film production and acquisitions, UK and Ireland. He joins from indie film and TV financier Lorton Entertainment, where he worked on projects including Diego Maradona. Go deeper.
📺 One to watch: Lupin returns to Netflix today for the second half of its Season 1 adventures. You can watch the trailer here.
No BAFTA blowout: BAFTA nominees may have been strutting their stuff on the red carpet for the first time in a long time, but the shadow of the pandemic brought an unusual edge to the TV awards. For starters, stars were sat, masks up to their eyes, in a television studio as Richard Ayoade ring-mastered proceedings from Television Centre. TVC is the historic former home of the BBC, but if you’ve ever stalked its halls, you’ll know it’s a long way from the riverside vistas of Royal Festival Hall, the recent home of the TV BAFTAs. Once the formalities were over, there were no parties to disperse to — a fact acknowledged by a number of the nominees. Jodie Comer was bundled into a taxi and whisked away to prepare for Killing Eve’s Season 4 shoot, which she rose for the following day. “I’m not going to be hungover, I’m going to be sensible,” she said, somewhat ruefully. And what about the big winner, Michaela Coel? Did the night turn wild as she celebrated with an armful of BAFTA masks? Not quite. “I’m going to get some food from Deliveroo with my mum,” she told reporters. Full winners list here.