U.K. thesps migrate to ’51st State’

Jackson, Carlyle to star in pic, Yu to helm

LONDON — Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Carlyle will be joined by Brit thesps Emily Mortimer and Rhys Ifans in “51st State,” a $28 million action comedy set in Liverpool, to be directed by Ronny Yu.

Alliance Atlantis, the film’s main financier, has struck a co-production deal with the Film Consortium, one of the U.K.’s lottery franchises, to tap lotto coin.

Pic, which starts shooting Sept. 25, is the story of an American chemist who becomes entangled in Liverpool’s underworld and rave scene as he attempts to introduce a new designer drug into Europe.

Momentum picking up

Alliance is taking worldwide rights, with Momentum Pictures, its British joint venture with Kinowelt, distributing the pic in the U.K.

Producers are Andras Hamori, in the first project through his new H2O Motion Pictures shingle, along with Seaton McLean, Jonathan Debin and Jackson, plus David Pupkewitz and Malcolm Kohll from London-based Focus Films. Writer Stel Pavlou and Mark Aldridge are credited as co-producers.

Artists Production Group is also credited, thanks to the fact that Jackson, Yu and co-writer Simon Davis Barry are all clients of Artists Management Group, with Jackson also taking a producer credit. AMG’s Julie Yorn, Eli Selden and Stephanie Davis are exec producers.

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