'Les Miserables,' 'Saving Mr. Banks' Producers Launch U.K. Film, TV Shingle

'Les Miserables' Featurette: Original Song - Video Thumbnail - H 2012

Alison Owen and Debra Hayward team to form Monumental Pictures, saying they have been chasing the same material

Well-known British producers Alison Owen and Debra Hayward have teamed up to form Monumental Pictures, which will produce film and TV content.‎

The longtime friends, whose last shared credit was the Oscar-nominated and BAFTA Award-winning Elizabeth, announced the new venture on Wednesday. Owen produced the film starring Cate Blanchett, with Hayward serving as co-producer.
Owen previously set up Ruby Films in 1998. The firm worked on such films as Saving Mr. Banks and Jane Eyre. She is currently in post-production on Tulip Fever, starring Judi Dench, Christoph Waltz, Zach Galifianakis and Matthew Morrison, for The Weinstein Co. and Suffragette, with Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan, for Pathe.
Hayward produced Les Miserables with Cameron MacIntosh Ltd. and Working Title Films after being a creative force at U.K. producer Working Title, where she oversaw such projects as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Frost/Nixon and Pride and Prejudice.

“Debra and I have been chasing the same material for so long now, we’re both exhausted from competing with each other,” quipped Owen. "Ultimately, I could see the only way to beat Debra was to join her.”

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Added Hayward: “I see what Alison has been doing in television and that really chimed with me. Alison has stellar instincts about material and great talent relationships — it just made sense for us to join forces.”
Owen and Hayward are building a slate that they plan to unveil at a later date.

"We want to tell the sort of stories that we ourselves would like to see — character-driven, entertaining and commercial but without the huge expense of VFX-driven tentpoles,” said Hayward. “And as a female producing team, we hope to bring a different perspective to the U.K. and international production landscapes.” Added Owen: "We aim to keep the costs small, but the vision big."

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai ‎