Glazer gives ‘Birth’

After “Sexy Beast,” Jonathan Glazer was just about as hot in Hollywood as a first-time British director can get. But he ducked his head, turned down all the big-money offers and quietly set about developing his own material through London-based Academy Prods., the musicvid and commercials company he co-owns.

Now, finally, Academy is poised to send out the script for Glazer’s next movie to would-be financiers and cast. Titled “Birth” and set in New York, it’s the story of a 35-year-old woman into whose life comes an infatuated 10-year-old boy, claiming to be the reincarnation of her husband, who died 10 years earlier.

Project is “a mystery and a love story,” says Glazer’s producing partner, Nick Morris. “You couldn’t get anything more different from ‘Sexy Beast.'”

Glazer came up with the original concept a couple of years ago, and then teamed up on the script with one of the all-time greats of European screenwriting, Jean-Claude Carriere.

Carriere’s impressive credits, stretching back 40 years, include “Belle de Jour,” “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie,” “That Obscure Object of Desire,” “The Tin Drum,” “The Return of Martin Guerre,” “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” “Cyrano de Bergerac” and “The Horseman on the Roof.” Among others.

“Monster’s Ball” co-writer Milo Addica also recently took a pass at the screenplay, to bring a greater authenticity to the Gotham setting. Addica is currently in Britain working on a couple of other projects with Glazer.

“Birth” has been developed by Academy with French co-producer Jean-Louis Piel. Xavier Marchand of Haystack Prods. is advising on distribution, marketing and financing issues, and likely will take an exec producer credit.

“If we get the cast we want, and the financing will follow that, we would like to shoot early next year,” says Morris. Aside from finding the right boy, it’s hard to imagine Glazer having trouble filling the adult roles (the woman, her mother, her fiancee, her dead husband) with whomever he wants. “Sexy Beast” caused a disproportionate buzz among Hollywood stars, many of whom have been courting Glazer ever since.

Meanwhile, Hollywood scripts are still coming in for Glazer, but Morris says, “At this stage, Jonathan is not really a director for hire. He is most fired by things he can get involved in from the start, from the germ of an idea. He has always been the cornerstone of the development of all his projects. I’m not saying it would be impossible for a script to land on his desk that he would want to make, but it hasn’t so far.”

Looking beyond “Birth,” Glazer is writing “Under the Skin” with Addica, a movie about a Scottish she-monster, which Industry Entertainment has been developing with FilmFour. This is one of the projects with which FilmFour chief exec Paul Webster and deputy head of production Jim Wilson are expected to remain involved as indie producers when the shutdown of FilmFour is completed.

Fry’s young things find new home

Stephen Fry’s “Bright Young Things” looks like being the first project to successfully disentangle itself from FilmFour and find a home elsewhere. Andrew Eaton of Revolution Films has set the project up with the Film Consortium, whose sales arm the Works will handle foreign rights. Icon Entertainment is pre-buying U.K. and Australian rights, and Visionview will complete the jigsaw with equity finance.

Pic is an adaptation of “Vile Bodies,” Evelyn Waugh’s satire on the fast Mayfair set of 1930s London. It marks the screenwriting and directing debut of the multitalented Fry, otherwise known as an actor, comedian, TV sketch writer, novelist and host of the BAFTA Awards. Judi Dench and Peter O’Toole are set for supporting roles, with the two youthful leads yet to be cast. Gina Carter is producing for Revolution, alongside Miranda Davis for Fry’s Doubting Hall shingle.

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