Jackson action on BBC slate

Artist developing movie that looks at world of celebrity

CANNES -- BBC Films is working with award-winning television program maker/contemporary artist Alison Jackson to develop a comic movie that takes a long hard look at the world of celebrity.

Jackson, whose credits include a stint as a producer-director on NBC's "Saturday Night Live," is developing the hush hush project with the broadcaster's filmmaking unit.

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Having caused a splash with hit television shows using look-alikes of famous people in awkward but believable everyday situations, Jackson is likely to employ similar techniques and comedy for the movie with BBC Films.

BBC Films creative director Christine Langan, here in Cannes, described Jackson as an "unique artist."

Also on the slate is an original screenplay from Oscar-nominated scribe Peter Morgan titled "Three Sixty," described as a multifaceted tale of love and sexual obsession. David Linde, former Universal Pictures chief, is partnering on the ensemble $10 million (pending cast and director) pic through his startup production label Lava Bear.

And the next projects from Armando Iannuci and Abi Morgan also pop up.

Iannucci is currently penning a comedy "Out the Window," with Will Smith and Roger Drew. It reteams Iannucci with BBC Films after the pair brought political satire "In the Loop" to big screens.

Langan said she is expecting the budget to be "a lot larger" than "Loop" -- at about $20 million -- and fully expects to partner with a U.S. partner and have U.S. talent sign up for it. "(Iannucci) has a lot more physical comedy in mind and I think he has U.S. actors in his mind for the movie," she said. U.K. indie producer Kevin Loader is lined up to produce.

Abi Morgan, meanwhile, is penning a script based on Claire Tomalin's "The Invisible Woman," the tale of Charles Dickens' relationship with young actress Nelly Ternan, to the screen. It will be produced by Stewart Mackinnon at Headline Pictures.

The busy BBC Films slate also sees the pubcaster's filmmaking arm in final negotiations with the Weinstein Co. on Simon Curtis' "My Week With Marilyn," starring Michelle Williams and written by Adrian Hodges. Produced by Oscar winner David Parfitt, the film details the story of Colin Clark's secret week in London in 1956 when Marilyn Monroe was being directed by Laurence Olivier in "The Prince and the Showgirl."

BBC Films also has Dominic West, Rebecca Hall and Imelda Staunton signed for "The Awakening," billed as a classic ghost story from Stephen Volk and Nick Murphy, which will be directed by Murphy. Former BBC Films chief David Thompson will produce via his Origin Pictures label, with Studio Canal selling here in Cannes.

Langan said the myriad pictures in development, in production and in postproduction, represent "our determination to deliver as eclectic, innovative and dynamic a mix as possible from established and brand new talent alike."

Put another way, it certainly shows the pubcaster's commitment to make a £12 million ($17 million) annual cash pool go an awful long way.
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