Fledgling U.K.-based film producer Who’s On First has teed up its second feature, “The Exchange,” a Canada-set comedy from Tim Long, a writer and executive producer on “The Simpsons.”
U.K. independent TV producer Roughcut, which is run by “The Office” producer Ash Atalla, set up Who’s On First last year in order to get into film. Former Roughcut head of comedy Dan Hine runs Who’s On First, which is set to go into production on its first feature, dark wedding comedy “& Mrs,” early next year.
“The Exchange” is its sophomore outing and comes after Hine and Long met while working on the pilot of a U.S. version of British comedy series “Cuckoo” for NBC. Partly based on Long’s own teenage years, it follows a nerdy but enterprising teenager growing up in small-town Canada. L.A.-based Long is currently writing the script.
“We always respond to personal material and we got a spoken word essay from Tim,” Hine told Variety. “It was an account of an angry sex-deprived teenager in Canada who goes on an exchange program, which sees him making an Algerian-born, tracksuit-wearing, cologne-drenched friend. It was hilarious and heartfelt.”
The project sees Who’s On First team with the L.A. Media Fund, the production and financing entity set up by veteran producers/financiers Jeffrey Soros and Simon Horsman in 2014. The pair also partnered on “& Mrs.”
“We felt a kindred spirit with Dan – he navigates the material so well, and this has a real trans-Atlantic feel,” Horsman said. “It felt right and we wanted to put funding behind a team of the caliber of Dan and Ash.”
The producers want to shoot the film in Canada, with a budget in the $8 million to $12 million range. “We want to make big, genre pieces that travel…It’s great to have an American partner” in L.A. Media Fund, Hine said.
As for future projects, Who’s On First is also working on a film adaptation of Theresa Ikoko’s stage play “Girls,” and “Bully,” which comes from “& Mrs” writer Melissa Bubnic (“Shameless”). It also has a high-concept TV project in the works from Vicky Jones, the co-creator of hit British comedy “Fleabag.”