Murphy teams with F&ME on slate

First up is $15 million 'Jesus Christ Airlines'

LONDON — U.K. helmer Dominic Murphy, whose debut pic “White Lightnin’ ” world preems at Sundance, is partnering with London shingle Film & Music Entertainment on a slate of new projects.

Murphy and F&ME principals Sam Taylor and Mike Downey are prepping “Jesus Christ Airlines,” which will be produced by F&ME’s newly revived Mass Prods. label.

Kit Peel is scripting the pic, about a family in war-torn Biafra during its failed, three-year attempt to succeed from Nigeria, when the daredevil pilots of Joint Church Aid flew in arms and food to keep the breakaway state alive.

Pic is budgeted at $15 million.

Project is set to be followed by a series of Mass Prods. pics, to be directed by Murphy and produced by Taylor and Downey, including an adaptation of Iain M. Banks’ novel “The State of the Art” and a possible hook up with another U.K. author, Tibor Fischer.

The previous incarnation of Mass Prods. produced Academy Award nominee and Venice Golden Lion winner “Before the Rain,” and Benjamin Ross’ “The Young Poisoner’s Handbook,” which also screened at Sundance.

Popular on Variety

F&ME’s “White Lightnin’,” which screens in Sundance’s Park City at Midnight section, tells the story of charismatic mountain dancer Jesco White and his uphill battle against abject poverty, drug abuse, petty crime and mental instability in rural West Virginia.

The pic toplines Carrie Fisher, Ed Hogg and Muse Watson.

World sales on the pic, which was made with coin from the U.K. Film Council’s New Cinema Fund and Salt, are being handled by Salt. Momentum Films is releasing the pic in the U.K.

More Film

  • Meg Whitman and Jeffrey Katzenberg Quibi

    Jeffrey Katzenberg, Meg Whitman Explain How Quibi Differs From Other Streamers

    Jeffrey Katzenberg has heard the chatter about streaming wars, but the media mogul thinks that when the dust settles, the fight to attract audiences won’t end with just a few victors. “Everybody suddenly wants to declare winners and losers and the fact is there’s only winners and winners right now,” he said during an interview [...]

  • Anaconda

    'Anaconda' Reboot in the Works at Sony With 'Divergent' Writer

    Sony Pictures is in early development of a reboot of the “Anaconda” franchise, hiring “Divergent” writer Evan Daugherty to write the project. The studio has not set up the project with a producer, director or actors. Sony released the original “Anaconda” in 1997 as a horror thriller starring Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Jon Voight, Eric [...]

  • Annabella Sciorra

    Friend Tells of Annabella Sciorra's Mid-1990s Struggles at Harvey Weinstein Trial

    A longtime friend of Annabella Sciorra testified Friday in Harvey Weinstein’s criminal trial that the actor turned to cutting herself and exhibited other troubling behavior in the mid-1990s after she was allegedly raped by the disgraced film mogul. The defense questioning of model Kara Young got heated as Judge James Burke sustained repeated objections to [...]


    Box Office: 'Bad Boys for Life' to Lead Weekend With $26 Million

    Sony’s “Bad Boys for Life” is dominating North American moviegoing with about $26 million at 2,155 sites, early estimates showed Friday. Universal’s World War I epic “1917” will finish at a distant second with about $13 million in the wake of receiving 10 Academy Award nominations and the top film award from the Producers Guild [...]

  • Bambi

    'Bambi' Is Next Up for Disney Live-Action Remake

    From bears to lions to deer: Disney is developing a live-action remake of its 1942 animated feature “Bambi,” Variety has confirmed. Screenwriters Geneva Robertson-Dworet (“Captain Marvel”) and Lindsey Beer (“Sierra Burgess Is a Loser”) will write the screenplay, with Chris and Paul Weitz’s Depth of Field producing. The film will employ the same photo-realistic CGI used on [...]

  • Meg Whitman

    Quibi CEO Meg Whitman Apologizes for Comparing Journalists to Sexual Predators

    Quibi CEO Meg Whitman apologized for comparing journalists to sexual predators, saying her remarks did not convey her true feelings about the press. “I used an analogy that was inappropriate and just plain wrong,” Whitman said in an interview at Variety‘s studio at the Sundance Film Festival. “None of us are ever perfect. I didn’t [...]

  • The Fight

    'The Fight': Film Review

    In 1988, presidential candidate George H.W. Bush dismissed his rival Michael Dukakis as a “card-carrying member of the ACLU.” By contrast, Bush proclaimed himself “for the people,” as though the American Civil Liberties Union, a nonprofit organization that defends the equal human rights established in the Constitution, was instead championing UFOs. There’s a documentary or [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content