HanWay previews auteurs

Org takes on Linklater's 'Fast Food Nation'

LONDON — New films by Richard Linklater and Woody Allen and the long-overdue comebacks of Carine Adler and Richard Stanley feature on the ever-expanding Cannes slate of HanWay Films, the London sales outfit owned by veteran producer Jeremy Thomas.

Since the arrival of Tim Haslam as chief exec 18 months ago, HanWay has become one of the most prolific sales houses around.

It has drawn on the clout and experience of Thomas and his team at the Recorded Picture Co. to diversify and deepen its lineup. Pics produced by RPC are now just one component of an eclectic slate that ranges from established auteurs to the self-help video “Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Smoking.”

“When I joined, HanWay was a bespoke sales company that primarily serviced the producing parent,” Haslam says. “I felt that the inherent producing and financing talent in this company was really underutilized. All it needed was energy and a kickstart to mature from a one-producer company to a financing house with a much broader portfolio.”

HanWay is coming to Cannes with two films in the official selection — competition entry Wim Wenders’ “Don’t Come Knocking,” produced by Thomas, and Woody Allen’s non-competing “Match Point.”

It has five pics in post-production — including Terry Gilliam’s “Tideland,” Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe’s “Brothers of the Head” and Richard Jobson’s “A Woman in Winter” — and at least eight new projects to shoot in the coming year.

Richard Linklater will direct “Fast Food Nation,” starring Oscar nominee Catalina Sandino Moreno. Inspired by Eric Schlosser’s bestselling nonfiction expose of junk food companies, the fictionalized thriller will be produced by Thomas with Malcolm McLaren. Shooting is slated for the fall.

HanWay also will handle sales for Allen’s next pic, currently known only as “WASP 2005” (Woody Allen Summer Project), which like “Match Point” will shoot in Britain and star Scarlett Johansson.

Adler will direct the feline chiller “Stray,” starring Emily Mortimer. It’s Adler’s first pic since her acclaimed directing debut “Under the Skin” eight years ago. Thomas again produces, with a script by Richard Stanley.

Stanley himself will direct digital action thriller “Vacation,” about an American couple on a holiday from hell, with Michael Riley and RPC’s Alexandra Stone producing. It’s Stanley’s first full-length movie since he was fired from “The Island of Doctor Moreau” a decade ago.

HanWay also has come aboard to sell “Severance,” Christopher Smith’s comedy-horror followup to last year’s “Creep.” Described as “The Office” meets “Deliverance,” it stars Danny Dyer and Eddie Marsan and is being financed by Michael Kuhn’s Qwerty Films. Lensing starts May 31.

From New Zealand comes “Samoan Wedding,” directed by Chris Graham, a comedy about four Samoan dudes banned from their best friend’s wedding. Producer is John Barnett (“Whale Rider”).

“Glastonbury” is a pet project of Thomas, documenting the 30-year history of Britain’s best-known music festival, which Thomas attends every year. The doc, already in production, is directed by Julien Temple.

The previously announced docudrama “Addiction Inc.,” about the conspiracy to suppress the invention of a “safe” cigarette, is now set to shoot this fall, directed by Brett Morgen.

With conspicuous irony, this sits on HanWay’s slate alongside the stop-smoking vid based on Carr’s worldwide bestseller. This marks a fresh departure for the company into special-interest videos, with HanWay manufacturing the DVDs itself and selling them directly to distribs.

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