Fox Searchlight, DNA, BBC to make 'History'
Fox Searchlight Pictures, DNA Films and the BBC have pacted to adapt the National Theater production of Alan Bennett’s Olivier-winning “The History Boys” into a feature.Fox Searchlight prexy Peter Rice, DNA Films’ Andrew Macdonald and BBC Films topper David Thompson announced the project Thursday. Film will be financed by DNA and the BBC and distributed by Fox Searchlight. Pic will mine the same talent that won the legiter three Oliviers in January. Nicholas Hytner — who also serves as artistic director of London’s National Theater — will helm from a script adapted for the screen by Bennett. Fox Filmed Entertainment chairman Tom Rothman, who previously worked with Hytner and Bennett on feature “The Madness of King George” (1994), was influential in bringing the project to the studio. Having preemed at the National last year, “History Boys” won Oliviers for new play, director and actor (Richard Griffiths) as well as Evening Standard and Critics Circle honors for play. Storyline centers on an obstreperous class of clever, funny teenage boys and their relationships with an iconoclastic English instructor (Griffiths); a newly minted professor (Stephen Campbell Moore), retained to boost test scores; an overwhelmed history teacher (Frances de la Tour); and a headmaster (Clive Merrison) relentlessly focused on results. Most of the cast will remain the same, with Sacha Dhawan, Samuel Anderson, Dominic Cooper, Andrew Knott, Samuel Barnett, Russell Tovey, Jamie Parker and James Corden joining Griffiths et al. Kevin Loader (“Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”), Damian Jones (“Millions”) and Hytner will produce the pic. Production is slated to begin in the U.K. in July, with the project overseen by Fox Searchlight exec VP Claudia Lewis. Bennett had previously won two Oliviers — one for “Talking Heads” in 1992 and another for “Single Spies” in 1989. Hytner’s film credits include “The Object of My Affection” and “The Crucible.” DNA Films is a joint venture with Fox Searchlight. Company is in pre-production on Danny Boyle’s sci-fi thriller “Sunshine” as well as Kevin Macdonald’s “The Last King of Scotland” and playwright Richard Eyre’s “Notes on a Scandal.”