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Simon Pegg, Nick Frost Pact With Up-and-Coming Writers on YA Projects (EXCLUSIVE)

Stolen Picture, the production company founded by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, has launched a new drama initiative to work with up-and-coming writers on young-adult projects, with two series already in development.

The first project from the Rights Incubator initiative, “We Never Sleep,” is a detective comedy-thriller that will tackle bullying, justice, morality, mental health and post-Brexit small-town life. “Chemistry,” the second project, is a fast-paced genre hybrid that will pose questions about what it means to be human as the show follows protagonists on the run for their survival.

Pegg and Frost formed London-based Stolen Picture with former Fox Searchlight and Bad Wolf executive Miles Ketley last year. There has been keen interest in the new indie banner’s projects, given the founders’ loyal following and string of film and TV hits.

Horror comedy movie “Slaughterhouse Rulez” is in production, and half-hour paranormal investigator comedy “Truth Seekers” is in development. “Time and again, we’ve found that our projects – be they comedy, horror, sci-fi or straight drama – are speaking to YA audiences and so we wanted to ensure that authentic YA voices were at the heart of these projects,” Ketley said.

The Rights Incubator currently boasts five writers. BAFTA-nominated Olly Cambridge, who created BBC Three short-form comedy “Pls Like,” and Gemma Copping, who has worked on British soaps “Eastenders” and “Holby City,” are on board, as is playwright and writer Phoebe Éclair-Powell, whose credits include Sky series “Tin Star.” Comedian Elliot Steel and Faryal Velmi, who has written for Channel 4 drama “Ackley Bridge,” are also involved.

The incubator is supported by Sony, which backs Stolen Picture and is moving more heavily into the YA space, recently signing a deal with Komixx. The Stolen Picture initiative will span TV, film, VR, games, and graphic novels. The five members of the incubator are on a retainer and get co-ownership of the projects they work on.

“The IP-rights incubator seemed to be a smart and commercially fair way of engaging this incredibly talented team to find a common voice in this space and create something truly unique for audiences across multiple platforms,” Ketley said.

The writers will work with Stolen Picture’s creative directors, James Serafinowicz and Nat Saunders, who will showrun the projects. Jane Langford, a script consultant and former Sony international development director, and Stolen Picture’s development producer, Emma Bell, will manage the incubator.

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