London-based Headline Pictures, the outfit behind Quartet and The Invisible Woman, has revealed further details of its slate of high end TV dramas.
One of the company’s long gestating projects, Philip K Dick adaptation The Man In The High Castle, is now shooting in Seattle.
Headline has partnered with Amazon Studios, which is wholly funding the project, and is being filmed in the first instance as a pilot.
This will be broadcast in December and a decision will be taken as to whether a 10-part series will follow.
The drama, set in an alternate future in which Germany and Japan won the Second World War, is scripted by Frank Spotnitz and is being directed by David Semel.
The Man In The High Castle has been put together as a production between Scott Free, Headline Pictures and Electric Shepherd, the production arm of the Philip K. Dick estate.
“Headline created this show, secured the rights, financed the original scripts and then, with Scott Free and Electric Shepherd financed the Spotnitz scripts,” said Headline co-founder Stewart Mackinnon.
He declined to reveal the budget of the project but said “it was on a scale no-one in Europe would spend”.
Marchant commits to Cybercrime
Headline has signed up award winning writer Tony Marchant (Holding On, The Mark Of Cain, Recovery) to write its new drama, Cybercrime.
Marchant has already been researching the drama with Microsoft, which has given him access to the company’s huge cybercrime unit.
“Microsoft, over a period of three years of discussion, finally agreed to allow us access to their key people and to the unit itself,” said Mackinnon.
The Microsoft cybercrime united was set up to protect the IP of the company. “Over the past few years, this unit has grown and has given them an insight into criminality which I think is quite unique,” added Mackinnon.
The Headline boss suggested that Microsoft’s interest in supporting the drama was “to show the world that those involved in cybercrime are not the odd individual living in a back room in Birmingham, hacking into this company or that company…the major crime syndicates in the world see this as an opportunity.”
Governments, Mackinnon added, were also intimately involved in the nefarious world of cybercrime.
Marchant is working on a pilot for a 10-part series. Headline is partnering on the project with Munich-based Odeon Film, led by Mischa Hofmann. Odeon recently launched an international division.
The aim is to go into production by late 2015. The “modern spy thriller,” described by Mackinnon as “a global initiative,” will be based in Europe, Russia and the US.
Other Headline projects
The company has also developed Last Man Standing, written by Alan Whiting and to be directed by Ciaran Donnelly. This is a series set in the world of the international drugs trade.
Meanwhile, Adrian Hodges has completed his adaptation of Three Stations, the first of the TV films to be based Martin Cruz Smith’s Renko cop novels, for Headline.
The Renko dramas will be shot in Russia next year. The idea is to follow the Wallander formula. Hodges also scripted Headline’s new TV version of Peter Pan, due to shoot next year for delivery Christmas 2015.
Another Headline project, mini-series The Heavy Water War, is in post-production.
Made for Norwegian broadcaster NRK, this is based on the true story of the Allied Forces’ 1943 commando raid on a Norwegian factory plant to stop production of heavy water for Nazi Germany’s atomic bomb. Svensk is handling sales.
Alongside its TV endeavours, Headline will continue to develop feature films.
“We want to make one feature a year,” commented Headline’s production executive Christian Baute.
Reykjavik, the new Headline film about the Reagan/Gorbachev summit in Iceland in 1986, will shoot in the spring of 2015. Baltasar Kormakur is now on board as director. Michael Douglas is playing President Reagan.
Kormakur is currently finishing Everest for Working Title and will then move on to tackle Reykjavik. The Icelandic director was reportedly attracted to the project by his own childhood memories of the summit, credited with hastening the end of the Cold War.