BBC Adds 'Sex,' James Marsh to Film Slate (Cannes)

U.K. broadcaster also prepping projects involving Cillian Murphy, "An Education" director Lone Scherfig and theater director Rufus Norris.

CANNES -- BBC Films is banking on the old mantra that sex sells.

The moviemaking film arm of the U.K. broadcaster is developing a comedy drama named Sex Education with U.K. independent production banner Ruby Films.

In pre-production, Sex is penned by Jamie Minoprio and Jonathan Stern and details the story of a schoolboy who falls in lust with a teacher's wife and finds himself in a sticky situation.

Minoprio and Stern worked together on movies including the 2007's St. Trinian's, its 2009 sequel and I Want Candy, starring Tom Burke, Tom Riley and Carmen Electra.

And the Beeb's filmmaking unit is also backing Oscar winner James Marsh (Man on Wire) again following the recently completed Project Nim for the BBC, which won the World Cinema Documentary Directing Award at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

Marsh will direct Shadow Dancer (working title), the tale of a young mother in the Irish Republican movement, based on a script by political journalist Tom Bradby from his own novel. Clive Owen, Andrea Riseborough, Aidan Gillen and Gillian Anderson will star in the thriller which is due to shoot early summer.

Paramount Pictures will release in the U.K. Chris Coen (Funny Games U.S.), Andrew Lowe (This Must be the Place) and Ed Guiney (The Guard) will produce.

BBC Films is also developing the feature debut of theater director Rufus Norris, entitled Broken, an adaptation by Mark O'Rowe of Daniel Clay's novel.

Billed as a modern take on the themes of Harper Lee's classic To Kill A Mockingbird, the movie is about a terrifying incident which divides a community. Cillian Murphy has joined the cast and Dixie Linder, Nick Marston and Tally Garner will produce.

BBC Films is also working with Morgan Matthews, the BAFTA winning young documentary director who moves into feature films with an adaptation of his 2005 BBC documentary Beautiful Young Minds.

Written by James Graham and developed with cash by the U.K. Film Council, The X and Y Factor is a rites of passage story about a group of gifted British teenagers competing at the International mathematical Olympiad.

BBC Films is backing director Lone Scherfig's take on the Martin Sherman penned adaptation of Rose Tremain's Music and Silence. Tremain’s book is set in the court of Danish King Christian IV and tells the story of a beleaguered King fighting to save his kingdom and his disintegrating marriage. The producers are Dan Lupovitz and Alexandra Stone.

Tom Bradby brings his inside knowledge as one of the UK's top political journalists to Defence of the Realm for BBC Films, an updated remake of the BAFTA-winning original film.

The film is billed as a tense political thriller following a dogged reporter on the trail of an international scandal who discovers that there are dangerous limits to the government's tolerance for freedom of speech. It will be produced by Lynda Myles and Jason Newmark of Newscope Films.

BBC Films and Harbour Pictures are developing a big screen adaptation for a modern family audience of Arthur Ransome’s masterpiece Swallows and Amazons.

The classic story centers on four young children who set out on a boat in the Lake District to live alone on an island. Tom and Charlie Guard (The Uninvited) will direct from Andrea Gibb’s (Dear Frankie) screenplay, and Nick Barton (Calendar Girls) will produce.

Paul King (Bunny and the Bull) is on the BBC roster and is writing a script based on Geraldine McCaughrean's Peter Pan In Scarlet, the official sequel to the J. M. Barrie classic. With Neverland under threat from dark forces Pan has to call on some old friends to help restore order to the magical world. It will be produced by Stewart Mackinnon at Headline Pictures.

Elsewhere, the BBC and Vertigo Films are reteaming on StreetDance 2.

BBC Films chief Christine Langan said the slate reflects the unit's ambition to support talent and discover original, challenging and entertaining stories.

"The rich and diverse line up of releases in the year to come represents BBC Films’ determination to deliver a truly eclectic range of films that really excites British audiences," Langan said.