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Cougar slate blooms with new financing

Pics skedded include 'Reputation,' '@,' 'Black Ice'

LONDON — Lynda La Plante and Sophie Balhetchet’s Cougar Films has struck a deal to develop a slate of movies with coin from the U.K. Film Council and Ingenious Media.

Cougar’s initial projects are “Reputation,” a medical thriller adapted by Peter Iliff (“Patriot Games”) from Hugh Montgomery’s novel; the David Hilton (“My Little Eye”) horror pic “@”; an adaptation of Matt Dickinson’s Antarctic thriller “Black Ice”; and true-crime movie “Jean Lee,” to be written by La Plante.

Cougar had a development deal with Stewart Till’s Signpost Films, but that disappeared when Signpost collapsed last year.

Trial run

This is the first time that Ingenious, one of the U.K.’s leading providers of tax-based financing, has invested in development. “This deal is very much a pilot initiative — a speculative toe in the development waters,” Ingenious exec Duncan Reid said.

“This fund allows us to develop ambitious genre-based projects with top writing and directing talent,” Balhetchet said.

“We believe the key to a successful drama is a good story well told,” said La Plante, best known for creating the “Prime Suspect” TV series. “We are delighted to be working with such high-caliber writing talent from both sides of the Atlantic.”

Separately, Cougar is partnering with Fragile Films to produce Ol Parker’s romantic comedy “Click,” starring his wife, Thandie Newton. The company also is setting up “Crossing Over,” a script by La Plante described as a sort of supernatural “Prime Suspect.”

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