Michael Winterbottom, Fremantle Ink Deal With Boris Johnson COVID Drama as First Project

Michael Winterbottom
Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

Michael Winterbottom

'This Sceptred Isle' will tell the true story of the biggest national and personal crisis to face a government leader since WWII.

BAFTA-winning filmmaker Michael Winterbottom and his Revolution Films production company have signed an exclusive first-look deal with TV giant Fremantle.

The deal — done in collaboration with Richard Brown and his Passenger banner — will see Winterbottom, best known for film and series such as Welcome to Sarajevo, 24 Hour Party People, The Trip and recent satire Greed and his regular collaborations with Steve Coogan, develop and produce scripted series and films with Fremantle co-producing and distributing the projects worldwide.

First out of the partnership's blocks is a U.K. political drama about Prime Minister Boris Johnson set against the COVID-19 pandemic. The previously announced project — now entitled This Sceptred Isle and developed in partnership with Fremantle and Passenger — will tell the true story of "the biggest national and personal crisis to face a government leader since WWII." The series will be co-written and directed by Winterbottom, with Melissa Parmenter (Revolution Films) and Brown (Passenger) serving as executive producers.

"We are very excited at the prospect of developing our film and television production with our new partners at Passenger and Fremantle. We want to provide a space where directors can have the freedom to develop and tell the stories they are passionate about."

The deal marks the latest in a series of high-profile talent tie-ups for Fremantle, with others including Pablo Larrain and Juan de Dios Larrain, Luca Guadagnino, Paolo Sorrentino, Neil Gaiman and Neil Cross.

"Our global drama slate is growing thanks to unique creative partnerships that we are building across the world," said Andrea Scrosati, Fremantle's group chief operating officer. "Michael is such an incredibly sophisticated and prolific auteur; his vision is inspiring, and I admire the fact he continues to challenge the status quo. I am so proud that he and Melissa have chosen Fremantle as their creative partner and I look forward to the great content we will develop together."