It’s been an intense couple of years since Kris Thykier gave up being one of London’s most successful public relations men to try his hand as a film producer.
Having sold his stake in Freud Communications, the PR company he ran with Matthew Freud, Thykier partnered up with his old client Matthew Vaughn at Marv Films, under a first-look deal with Sony.
Since then, the company has made three movies — Vaughn’s “Kick-Ass,” privately financed, then sold to Lionsgate; John Madden’s “The Debt” for Miramax, now in post; and Daniel Barber’s indie-financed debut, “Harry Brown,” starring Michael Caine as a geriatric vigilante, which world preems at Toronto.
“I’ve learned a lot,” Thykier says. “We’ve made one film at $50 million, one at $20 million and one at $10 million. ‘The Debt’ and ‘Harry Brown’ were predominantly me, ‘Kick-Ass’ was predominantly Matthew, but we both worked across all three. Matthew wrote the first draft of ‘The Debt,’ so that was the truest partnership.”
That partnership, however, along with the Sony deal, is now over. Thykier split in July to launch PeaPie Films. “Matthew will make a Matthew Vaughn film every 18 months — perhaps I’ll work with him on that. But I’d like to build a company that makes two or three films a year,” Thykier explains.
Thykier brought polished marketing skills to the job, but managing development and production was a fresh challenge. “Making an independent movie in the U.K. has been very eye-opening,” he says. “Now I’m looking forward to doing it again, with the benefit of a bit more knowledge.”
Madden observes: “Considering he comes from a standing start, it’s astonishing how naturally he stepped up to every expectation of what a producer should be. He’s smart, focused, very patient in the development process. He believes that whatever the director is trying to do needs to be protected, but he’s not afraid of tough choices. He’s very good at the arm round the shoulder, and he was extremely attentive during the shoot even when he had another major production going at the same time.”
Thykier hopes to follow Vaughn’s example of making virtually every script he develops. His projects include “Wing Man,” a comedy by Mat Kirkby; and a pair of scripts by writer-director Ned Benson telling the same love story from a man’s and a woman’s viewpoints, with the films to be shot back-to-back.
HOME BASE: London
INSPIRED BY: Jeremy Thomas, Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, Matthew Freud, John Madden