BBC-backed Original Talent has bought into Tavistock Wood, the talent agency that globally reps a raft of big-name stars, and together the new partners have launched Open Book, a U.K.-based production company that will create drama projects with agency clients. Its first series in development include an Emily Mortimer-penned adaptation of Nancy Mitford novel “The Pursuit of Love.”
Original Talent was formed in 2016 with the backing of BBC Studios. It is the parent company of Curtis Brown, one of Europe’s largest agencies, with Margaret Atwood and John Le Carre among its literary clients, and “McMafia” producer Cuba Pictures.
It has taken a significant stake in Angharad Wood and Charles Collier’s Tavistock Wood, which will continue to operate autonomously and remain in its current Central London offices. That is in line with Original Talent’s federal structure, whereby its different divisions retain their individual identities.
Tavistock Wood was founded by Wood and Collier in 2005. It globally reps a deep roster of talent, including Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Dustin Hoffman, Eva Green, Lily James, and Russell Brand.
“We will keep the ethos of Tavistock Wood unchanged, and our new partnership with Original Talent will support that intention,” Wood said. “Added to which, our clients will now have access to a wider company of artists in order to create new and interesting work.”
Collier added that the deal gives the company greater resources and creative freedom. “It provides scope and scale, and a full production service when clients require it, and it taps into a deep well of literary resources that exists across the Original Talent Group,” he said. “We are now part of a wider group that allows our clients to benefit from combined strength, comprehensive business infrastructure, extended opportunity and strategic leverage.”
London’s agency scene has been marked by consolidation. The major groups are also increasingly getting involved in production. BBC Studios will support Open Book’s development work and distribute its programming internationally.
Original Talent co-CEO Jonny Geller said that “Angharad and Charles are two of the most talented and innovative agents in the U.K.” Fellow co-CEO Ben Hall added: “We are thrilled that they have decided to partner with Original Talent for the next stage of their company’s development, and we’re excited that this plan includes a push into high-quality drama production.”