'Stalin,' 'Toast' top Ruby slate

Production banner produced Stephen Frears' 'Tamara Drewe'

CANNES -- Projects about the early days of Joseph Stalin, a gay British chef and a vendetta thriller are all on the menu for U.K. production banner Ruby Films, run by Alison Owen and Paul Trijbits.

Ruby, which produced Stephen Frears' Out of Competition film "Tamara Drewe" -- and sealed a pre-production deal with Sony Pictures Classics for U.S. rights -- also has Un Certain Regard entry "Chatroom" here.

Trijbits said Ruby, currently shooting Carey Fukunaga's "Jane Eyre," backed by Focus Features, has about 25 different movie projects, most of which will roll over the coming months.

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Three projects are fast approaching production including "Young Stalin," penned by John Hodge and to be directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky, who shot to prominence with "Die Falscher" (The Counterfeiters).

Hodge's script is based on the historical bio penned by Simon Seebag Montefiore and Trijbits has it set up as a U.K./German co-production.

Also on the stove is "Toast," based on the autobiography of British food writer and chef Nigel Slater. Ruby is partnering with BBC Films on it after Film4 originally developed it but opted to put it in turnaround. "Toast" was penned by "Billy Elliot" scribe Lee Hall and is out to directors now. Slater is a colorful chef and food writer whose autobiography details his coming out to his mother as homosexual.

Trijbits said the project will be one of an emerging breed of hybrids, which are made to air on television while being sold internationally as feature releases.

Also slated to shoot in the coming months is "Corsica 72," written by Neil Purves and Rob Wade. The duo's thriller is loosely based on the true story of a woman who goes on the run and becomes the center of a vendetta. The true story happened on the Italian mainland but has been relocated to the French Mediterranean island.

Purves and Wade's script was on last year's Black List of unmade hot British projects.

Ruby previously struck a two-year first look deal (with an option for a one-year extension) with Miramax but the Disney-owned label was darkened before the deal expired.

Trijbits said each project is set up with partners on a case-by-case basis and has subsequently sealed deals with various U.S. partners including Sony and Universal.

Ruby also has a television division with 10-12 projects and enjoys a first-look deal with ITV Global Studios, the U.K. commercial net's production arm.
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