Shine, Fox's '1066' is Nicholson's number

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Shine Pictures, the new joint venture between U.K.-based Shine Group's Kudos Pictures and Arnon Milchan's New Regency, has hired "Gladiator" scribe William Nicholson to pen a big-screen version of the era-defining 1066 battle between King Harold and William the Conqueror for the throne of England.

Titled "1066," the project is being fast-tracked and is expected to go into production this year, marking the first effort under the joint venture set up in July.

Shine's Paul Webster will produce the film with Stephen Garrett and work closely with New Regency co-chairmen Bob Harper and Hutch Parker and Shine Group's Elisabeth Murdoch, the parties said.

Nicholson said the script focuses on the fraught relationship between Harold and William, the greatest warriors of the age. Starting as comrades, they became bitter enemies destined to fight to the death at the climactic Battle of Hastings.

New Regency is 20%-owned by Fox, with which it inked a 15-year distribution deal in 1998. Fox will have worldwide distribution on the picture through the deal.

Webster said "1066" will be "an intimate portrait of two men, told on an epic scale." No budget details were disclosed, but the costume drama will feature two massive battles and a naval exchange and fits New Regency's stated ambition to make commercial movies. (partialdiff)
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