talkbackTHAMES to produce two new Stephen Poliakoff films for BBC/HBO Films
Britain's finest television, film and stage actors star alongside talented newcomers in two new films written and directed by the inimitable, award-winning auteur, Stephen Poliakoff.
Acting legends Michael Gambon and Maggie Smith lead a stellar cast, including Rupert Penry Jones (Spooks), Kelly Reilly (Mrs Henderson Presents), David Walliams (Little Britain), Ruth Wilson (Jane Eyre), Rebecca Hall (Starter for Ten) and Danny Lee Wynter, in his first role since graduating from The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art this summer.
Lorraine Heggessey, CEO talkbackTHAMES, says: "talkbackTHAMES has been producing with Stephen for the past eight years and working with him is such a great privilege.
"He attracts the very best talent in the business, both in front of and behind the camera, and these films are no exception.
"They are beautiful, compelling stories which have been impeccably cast and will of course be directed in Stephen's inimitable way which makes these pieces so exceptional."
Jane Tranter, Controller of BBC Fiction, says: "It takes a major piece of work and a unique auteur to deliver a project that straddles two BBC channels.
"Stephen Poliakoff is such a talent and with the depth and breath of the amazingly gifted cast assembled across Poliakoff 2006 and Capturing Mary, I am certain that the finished product will be awe-inspiring."
In Poliakoff 2006 (working title), a major new film for BBC One, multi-award winning writer director Stephen Poliakoff explores the relationship between the two central characters, Elliot (played by Michael Gambon), a reclusive billionaire, and Joe (played Danny Lee Wynter), the teenage son of a cleaner who takes care of a grand neighbouring house.
The beautiful but dormant house is owned, though not inhabited, by Elliot who lives close by.
It has many echoes of the past - maybe it was once grand offices, or a place for parties and functions.
Elliot has inherited the house and its mysteries from his now-dead father.
Part messenger, part protégé, Joe is a link between Elliot and the outside world as their story and the stories of the visitors to the empty house ricochet and reverberate.
When Richard (Rupert Penry Jones), a charming, high-flying politician, conducts a passionate and clandestine love affair with Charlotte (Kelly Reilly) at Elliot's mansion, Joe begins to question his innocent view of the world.
In a contemporary film about loneliness and loss, the sins of the father are finally revealed in an emotionally devastating climax.
Stephen Poliakoff says: "I am delighted to be reunited with Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith and Rupert Penry Jones, whom I have been fortunate enough to work with before, and also to have the opportunity to work with some of the very best emerging talent in Britain today. It's very exciting to have such an exceptional cast."
Capturing Mary, the companion film for BBC Two, set in the same exquisite empty house, takes Joe and new characters into a dark and terrifying exploration of the past and how it can quite literally capture and destroy a person's life.
Capturing Mary focusses on a formerly very successful woman, Mary (played by Maggie Smith in a rare television appearance), a once-brilliant writer and critic, reflecting on her younger self (Ruth Wilson).
As she looks back on her prime, remembering parties and functions with the cultural elite played out as echoes and shadows in the empty palazzo, she is haunted by the memory of a supremely charming but subtly evil man, Greville (David Walliams), who feigned friendship, but actually brought destruction.
The two films together are linked by an exquisite house frozen in time, and a young highly individual man, Joe, through whose eyes we see the world.
The films shoot back-to-back at locations in central London: beginning with Poliakoff 2006 (working title) in early November 2006, with filming completing on Capturing Mary in January 2007.
Both films are co-financed, and will be licensed to and distributed internationally, by HBO Films under the terms of an agreement brokered by BBC Worldwide.
The talkbackTHAMES Producer is Deborah Jones (Magnificent 7). The Executive Producers for talkbackTHAMES are Joanna Beresford and Lorraine Heggessey. The Executive Producer for the BBC is Nicolas Brown. The Creative Executives for HBO Films are Maria Zuckerman and Julie Goldstein. The Casting Director is Andy Pryor, who also cast Friends and Crocodiles, Gideon's Daughter, The Lost Prince, Perfect Strangers and Shooting The Past.
Notes to Editors
Stephen Poliakoff is one of Britain's pre-eminent auteurs producing prodigious and unrivalled work.
talkbackTHAMES have made all his recent films: Gideon's Daughter, Friends and Crocodiles as well as The Lost Prince, Perfect Strangers and Shooting The Past.
In January 2003, The Lost Prince captured the hearts of the nation as well as earning unanimous critical acclaim and scooping three Primetime Emmy Awards.
It also garnered the 2003 Broadcasting Press Guild Award for Best Single Drama and Bafta Best Actress nominations for Gina McKee and Miranda Richardson.
Other recent awards include the Royal Television Society (RTS) and Prix Italia for Shooting The Past and Perfect Strangers, which also won RTS awards for Best Serial and Best Writer for Poliakoff.
At the 2002 Bafta ceremony, Poliakoff received the prestigious Dennis Potter Award and Michael Gambon received Best Actor for his role as Raymond in Perfect Strangers, his brilliant collaboration with Poliakoff.