DEADLINE – EXCLUSIVE: Director Sally El Hosaini’s new feature Unicorns will begin principal photography in the U.K. this October, with Trudie Styler and Celine Rattray’s Maven Screen Media and Philip Herd’s Chromatic Aberration financing and producing.
Oscar Nominee Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot) is also on board as executive producer.
The feature is described as a cross-cultural romance set against a secretive subculture in London, revolving around a queer South Asian nightclub performer living a double life, and a young, single father who works as a mechanic. When their paths collide, a dramatic search for identity is sparked.
Actor James Krishna Floyd, who also wrote the screenplay, will co-direct with El Hosaini for their third collaboration.
“This is a very personal story for me with the themes of dual culture clash, sexuality, fatherhood and forbidden romance originating from my own experiences,” he said.
Ben Hardy (Bohemian Rhapsody, X Men: Apocalypse) will star as the single father with the casting search underway for an authentic, queer South Asian actor for the other. Renowned Gaysian performer Britain’s first out Muslim Drag Queen’ Asifa Lahore is the consultant and will also executive produce.
Sally El Hosaini’s first feature My Brother the Devil won prizes at Sundance, Berlin and the London Film Festival. Her hotly anticipated second feature The Swimmers is opening Toronto International Film Festival and is being tipped as one of Netflix’s big awards contender this year.
“This unconventional love story resonated deeply with me and I’m excited to be bringing it to the screen with authenticity, sensitivity and humour,” she said.
“We are blown away by Sally’s spectacular work, and her ability to create colourful worlds and find joy in the most challenging situations,” said Styler, Rattray and Herd.
“It is a great honour to help her and James on their third collaboration, and to tell a story where love overcomes all barriers.”
VARIETY – EXCLUSIVE: “The Maze Runner’s” Kaya Scodelario, “John Wick’s” Lance Reddick and “Bohemian Rhapsody’s” Ben Hardy are set to lead the cast of sci-fi thriller “Apteros.”
Independent Entertainment have launched international sales on the pic, which is written and directed by Edward Anderson (“Shuttle”). Producer Laura Rister (“Mr Malcolm’s List”) will handle North American rights with Independent Entertainment.
“Apteros” sees a crew of seven astronauts, including science officer Tressie (Scodelario), captain Mitchell (Reddick), systems engineer Wade (Hardy) and their onboard AI, en-route to Mars after bacterial life is discovered on the red planet in the not-too-distant future.
Soon however, a number of unusual events unfold aboard the spacecraft, which is named APTEROS, and the crew find themselves divided in a tense psychological battle as they struggle to work out what is happening and realize nothing is as it seems.
Thrown into a desperate tailspin, soon it’s not just the mission at stake, but all of life on earth.
“Apteros” is set to shoot in Hungary this fall, with additional cast soon to be announced.
Rister produces for Untitled Entertainment while Budapest-based Hero Squared will serve as co-producers.
Independent Entertainment and Hero Squared previously worked together on sci-fi feature “Archive.”
Anderson previously wrote heist thriller “Flawless,” starring Michael Caine and Demi Moore, and “Shuttle,” which debuted at SXSW prior to a theatrical release, while Rister previously produced Jennifer Fox’s 2018 cine-memoir “The Tale.” Her next film, “Mr Malcolm’s List,” is set for a wide release by Bleecker Street Films this summer.
“The idea of a mystery set in space is uniquely fascinating and combining the challenges and risks of mankind’s search for alien life elevates the possibilities,” said Anderson. “With ‘Apteros,’ I’m excited to explore these concepts in a hard science fiction context, by creating a very human story about paranoia, isolation, fear, and the dangers of technology in the face of a realistic discovery of alien life in its smallest, most baffling form.”
In a statement, Independent Entertainment said: “Independent have a long history of working on bold and ambitious sci-fi, and the script for ‘Apteros’ rates as one of the best we’ve seen. Edward has created a gripping thriller full of big ideas, and we can’t wait for him bring his vision to life with this exceptionally talented group of actors.”
Independent Entertainment’s Sarah Lebutsch, MD of international sales, will handle international sales and co-rep with Rister for North America.
Kaya Scodelario is represented by CAA, Curtis Brown and Anonymous Content. Lance Reddick is represented by Paradigm, Grandview and James Hornstein. Ben Hardy is represented by UTA, Untitled Entertainment and CAM in London
Ben attended the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards tonight in London and I’ve just added photos of him walking the red carpet into the photo gallery! Enjoy!
DEADLINE – Netflix has acquired global rights to the YA romance “The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight,” starring Haley Lu Richardson and Ben Hardy.
The film adaptation of Jennifer E. Smith’s popular novel by the same name was financed and produced by ACE Entertainment, the producers of the “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” movies.
Richardson (“Unpregnant”) and Hardy (“6 Underground”) star in the movie as Hadley and Oliver, two strangers who begin to fall for each other on a flight from New York to London. But, as the official logline explains, “Is it misfortune or fate that separates them when they land? The probability of ever finding each other again seems impossible, but love — and London — may have a way of defying the odds.”
The film’s cast is rounded out by Rob Delaney (“Catastrophe”) who plays Hadley’s father, whose move to London after his divorce — and plan to remarry — kicks off the story’s plot; Dexter Fletcher (“Lock, Stock, And Two Smoking Barrels,” “Rocketman” director) who plays Val, Oliver’s eccentric father; and Sally Phillips (“Bridget Jones’s Diary”) as Oliver’s mother Tessa. Jameela Jamil (“The Good Place,” “She Hulk”) is the story’s narrator.
“To All the Boys: Always and Forever” screenwriter Katie Lovejoy adapted the screenplay for the movie, directed by Vanessa Caswill (best known for helming the “Little Women” miniseries).
“The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight” is produced by Matt Kaplan, through his ACE Entertainment shingle. Max Siemers, Matthew Janzen and Aubrey Bendix oversaw the project for ACE. The project originated with ACE, which locked in the adaptation rights to Smith’s popular novel, and financed and produced the feature. Lionsgate international handled the sale.
The movie landing at Netflix continues the partnership between the two companies following the massive success of the three films in the “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” franchise. Netflix and ACE have also partnered for the upcoming YA feature “Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between,” another adaptation of Smith’s work, starring Jordan Fisher and Talia Ryder.