LONDON — BBC Films, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary at a party in London today, has revealed its latest slate, which includes new projects from the directors of “The Theory of Everything” and “The Lunchbox,” as well as a film sequel to Ricky Gervais’ “The Office” and a new film from “Veep” creator Armando Iannucci.
Gervais catches up with David Brent 15 years after “The Office” with his film “Life on the Road.” Brent is now a traveling salesman engaged in a belated bid for rock stardom, with a documentary crew following his every move. It is written and directed by Gervais, who will also produce alongside Charlie Hanson.
James Marsh, the director of “The Theory of Everything,” is helming a film recounting the true story of amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst, and his attempt to win the first single-handed round-the-world yacht race in 1968. Pic is produced by Blueprint Pictures; it is written by Scott Z. Burns and stars Colin Firth.
Ritesh Batra, who helmed “The Lunchbox,” will direct an adaptation of Julian Barnes’ Man Booker Prize-winning novel “The Sense of an Ending.” The adaptation is the debut screenplay of playwright Nick Payne, whose play “Constellations” has recently been on Broadway starring Jake Gyllenhaal. The film tells the story of Tony Webster, whose comfortable world is rocked to its foundations by the emergence of an explosive letter from his careless youth. David Thompson will produce for Origin Pictures.
Iannucci, who is best known for “In the Loop” and “Veep,” has begun development on a new version of “David Copperfield,” to be adapted by Iannucci and Simon Blackwell.
Rafe Spall will star in a new adaptation of Arthur Ransome’s novel “Swallows and Amazons,” which has been adapted by Andrea Gibb. The film will be directed by Philippa Lowthorpe and is produced by Nick Barton.
BBC Films projects also include Stephen Frears’ “Florence Foster Jenkins,” which tells the story of the world’s worst soprano, who sold out Carnegie Hall. It will be filming this year with Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant starring.
Lone Scherfig will direct “Their Finest Hour and a Half,” based on the novel by Lissa Evans, and written by Gaby Chiappe. Amanda Posey and Stephen Woolley will produce the comedic drama about life in wartime London.
Pete Travis directs contemporary detective thriller “City of Tiny Lights,” which is based on the novel by Patrick Neate. Pic is produced by Ado Yoshizaki and Rebecca O’Brien. Neate wrote the screenplay. The cast includes Riz Ahmed and Cush Jumbo.
There are three feature documentaries on the slate. The first focuses on jockey A.P. McCoy in the final year of his career as he fights to become champion for the 20th time and faces a future out of the saddle. Director Sophie Fiennes reaches beyond Grace Jones’ iconic mask in the observational portrait “Grace Jones — The Musical of My Life.” It is produced by Katie Holly, James Wilson, Emilie Blézat and Fiennes. BBC Films join the BFI Film Fund and the Irish Film Board as co-financers.
Steve Cantor is directing the feature documentary “Tiger Son,” about the youngest-ever star of the Royal Ballet, Sergei Polunin. The film charts the story of the gifted Ukrainian boy who joined the Royal Ballet at 13 and became a principal at 19. In January 2012 he made the dramatic decision to walk away from his career. The film will be produced by Gaby Tana. Ross MacGibbon and David La Chapelle have both provided additional footage. The film includes choreography by LaChapelle.
Christine Langan, head of BBC Films, said: “We’re hugely excited about a current slate that reflects what a dynamic and vibrant place Britain is today. Britain has a wealth of incredible filmmaking talent, and it’s never been more important for the BBC to support, promote and celebrate it.”