Prod’n blossoms for Archer, Lily

'The Seagull's Laughter' on horizon

CANNES — Archer Street Prods., the shingle of “Hilary and Jackie” director Anand Tucker, producer Andy Paterson and writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce, is expanding its operations by merging with rising Brit outfit Tiger Lily.

The combined company is ramping up its production slate with projects from Tucker, Julien Temple, Sharon Maguire and Aussie helmer Jonathan Teplitzky (“Better Than Sex”), plus several rookie filmmakers.

This marks a dramatic increase in output for a company that has produced just one film — “Hilary and Jackie” — in the past three years.

But an intensive period of development, plus the arrival of Tiger Lily producers Natasha Dack and Nikki Parrott, have resulted in half a dozen projects that will be ready to shoot in 2001, subject to financing and casting.

Having previously focused largely on the talents of Tucker and Cottrell-Boyce, the company is positioning itself as an umbrella for a wider family of filmmakers.

In turn, Archer Street is planning to take a more active role in lining up its own distribution deals in key territories.

“If you’re making four films a year, you become interesting to distributors,” Paterson said. “If you’re making one film every two years, you’re not.”

This year, the company is co-producing the $2 million Icelandic movie “The Seagull’s Laughter,” written and directed by Agust Gudmundsson, which is in post.

Highlights of Archer Street’s slate include:

  • Tucker’s next film, which will be either “The Railway Man,” for Intermedia and FilmFour, or a remake of “Gambit” for Universal. One will shoot this fall, depending on which is ready to be greenlit first.

  • “Wanted,” to be directed by Peter Webber and star Pernilla August. This U.K.-German-Danish co-production is based on the true story of the Baader-Meinhof terrorist group. Production is scheduled for October.

  • “The Golden Man,” scripted by Cottrell-Boyce and directed by Temple, based on the life of Christopher Marlowe. Project is being fast-tracked for a fall shoot.

  • “The Girl With a Pearl Earring,” adapted by Olivia Hetreed from Tracy Chevalier’s best-selling novel about a servant girl in the household of 17th-century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. Project is being developed with Intermedia. A director will be attached shortly.

  • “Thanksgiving,” to be directed by Teplitzky from a script by Debbie Moon, is about a small American town that is turned upside down by the arrival of a man with the involuntary gift to make wishes come true.

Tiger Lily has brought in several projects with new Brit filmmakers that also could shoot this year:

  • “Election Day,” written and directed by newcomer Ollie Blackburn, is a comic actioner set on polling day in a New York mayoral race. A young political intern with a suitcase of money to get out the vote finds himself in the middle of a multiethnic Brooklyn gangland war.

  • “Stop History!” written and directed by Wayne Holloway, is a low-budget thriller set among the East London immigrant community.

  • “And I Loved Them Madly” will be a Canadian co-production, written and directed by Matthew Parkhill, based on his debut novel about a summer camp for the mentally deranged.

Other highlights from the longer-term development slate:

  • “Stones in His Pockets,” adapted by Ben Hopkins from the hit stage play, being developed with the BBC as a co-production with Kismet Films;

  • “Smith & Son,” an original screenplay by thesp Emily Watson and her husband, Jack Waters, about undertakers;

  • “Mail,” a Boston-set romantic comedy to be directed by Sharon Maguire (“Bridget Jones’s Diary”), in development with FilmFour; and

  • “Cleopatra,” to be written by Cottrell-Boyce and directed by Tucker for Universal.

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