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U on Mission to put ‘State’ into pic play

British mini picked up three BAFTA awards

LONDON — Universal Pictures has teamed with Andrew Hauptman’s Mission Pictures to develop an American movie version of Paul Abbott’s BBC miniseries “State of Play.”

Mini, which picked up three BAFTA awards, is a political thriller about two friends, one a member of Parliament and the other a journalist, who find themselves on opposite sides of an investigation into two seemingly unrelated murders.

Abbott, who created the show and is writing a second series, will exec produce the movie, with Hauptman and Mission exec Tracy Falco producing. Mission acquired the rights from Abbott and sold them to Universal.

U vice chair Mary Parent and exec VP of production Donna Langley will oversee the project for the studio.

This is the second time “State of Play” has been the focus of a bidding war. Earlier this year, Mission, then backed by Warner, lost out in a battle with Scott Rudin, backed by Paramount. But Rudin never closed his deal, putting the rights back into play.

“The series is about the intersection between politics and journalism, issues that are relevant in any country,” Hauptman said. “It’s a blistering political thriller, and we want to make an equally blistering movie.”

It’s the first major U.S. project Mission has set up since American-born Hauptman, who owns the company with his wife Ellen Bronfman, relocated from London to Los Angeles a year ago.

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