‘Hearts’ at Working Title

Working Title Films is developing a remake of the 1949 Ealing classic “Kind Hearts and Coronets.” The original Robert Hamer film starred Dennis Price as the black sheep of a noble family who sets about murdering the 10 relatives (eight of them played by Alec Guinness) standing between him and a dukedom. Working Title has wisely decided it’s pointless to attempt a faithful copy of an original widely regarded as a masterpiece. So the new version, scripted by William Morrissey, will update the story to the present day. It will retain the essential concept of an outcast killing his way to a family fortune, but with wholly new characters and situations. The head of the family is now a multimillionaire publisher, and his dreadful relatives will be satirical archetypes of contemporary life. There’s no director or cast yet, but the multiple Alec Guinness role (including two female characters) could be a juicy showcase for one of Working Title’s big comic stars.

By coincidence, WT parent Universal Pictures previously wanted to remake “Kind Hearts and Coronets” with Robin Williams and Will Smith, but that came to nothing. Working Title picked up the option after U let it lapse.

Michell’s ‘Love’ endures with Pathe

After surviving a financing wobble in recent weeks, Roger Michell‘s “Enduring Love” is set to start shooting Sept. 15 in London. Pic, a psychological drama starring Daniel Craig, Rhys Ifans and Samantha Morton, will, after all, be bankrolled by Pathe Pictures and FilmFour, with equity fund Inside Track coming aboard as co-financier.

Despite previously partnering on six Pathe pics, Inside Track initially turned down the deal, which Pathe had been banking on to complete the jigsaw. Ingenious Media, which runs Inside Track, was reluctant to commit to any more projects before its latest round of fund-raising, having already backed a significant volume of production this year off its own balance sheet in advance of actually securing the coin from its investors.

But as producer Kevin Loader scrambled for an alternative (involving Momentum, BBC Films, Myriad Pictures and the U.K. Film Council), Ingenious relented on the strength of advance interest from its investors in the second Inside Track prospectus, which is due to be launched this month. That enthusiasm is fueled by the fact that most investors have received their tax rebates for the first Inside Track fund, implying the Inland Revenue has at least a preliminary degree of comfort with the fund’s groundbreaking structure.

Schoolgirls behaving badly

Simon Nye is going from “Men Behaving Badly” to girls behaving badly. The creator of the top-rated BBC sitcom has come aboard to script the new “St. Trinian’s” movie in the works at Ealing Studios. The idea of revisiting the archetypal naughty schoolgirls came from Rupert Everett, who wants to reprise Alastair Sim‘s double role as the headmistress and her roguish brother from 1954 pic “The Belles of St. Trinian’s.” The new film won’t be a remake, but more a modern reworking of the concept, inspired as much by the original Ronald Searle cartoons as by the black-and-white movies that followed.

Ritchie reconstructs his feminine side

Guy Ritchie’s “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” was the apogee of new lad cinema, depicting a world of geezers and jack-the-lads in which women hardly existed. But as originally shot, it actually contained a major female character and a substantial romantic subplot, which was left on the cutting-room floor. In this age of DVD, no performance is lost forever. Ritchie’s producer Matthew Vaughn has offered to add back in that extra 40 minutes of sissy stuff for the special edition Universal Video is planning for later this year.

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