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Sophie Okonedo joins “Britannia”; Sony Pictures Classics takes “The Human Voice”; HBO Europe commissions two series; Viz Media takes Japanese animation; “Out of Love” renewed; BBC Studioworks launches talent plan; Laika and Park Circus team for repertory sales deal.

“Ratched” actor Sophie Okonedo, Oscar nominee for “Hotel Rwanda,” has joined the cast of Sky original series “Britannia” for its third season. The series, which is currently filming in the U.K., is a tale of clashing civilizations and religions.

The series also sees the return of actors David Morrissey, Mackenzie Crook, Annabel Scholey, and Nikolaj Lie Kaas.

Created by Jez and Tom Butterworth, and James Richardson, “Britannia” is produced by Vertigo Films and All3Media’s Neal Street Productions. NBCUniversal Global Distribution is handling international distribution for Sky Studios. It airs on Epix in the U.S.

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Tilda Swinton in “The Human Voice” / Courtesy Pathe U.K.

ACQUISITION

Sony Pictures Classics has acquired Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar‘s English-language debut, short “The Human Voice,” starring Tilda Swinton, loosely based on a Jean Cocteau play.

The film presents a woman on the edge portrayed by Swinton, who is waiting for her lover to call. After Venice and New York festival play dates, the film will be seen at the BFI London Film Festival in October.

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Raluca Aprodu in “Ruxx” / HBO Europe HBO Europe

COMMISSION

HBO Europe has commissioned eight-part Romanian relationship drama “Ruxx.” Written by Vera Ion (“I’m an Old Communist Hag”) and directed by Iulia Rugină (“Breaking News”) and Octav Gheorghe, the series stars Raluca Aprodu (“Dogs”) and Alec Secăreanu (“God’s Own Country”).

HBO Europe has also commissioned 12-part Polish tragicomic drama “Still Here,” written by Jakub Żulczyk (“Blinded by The Lights”), directed by Jacek Borcuch (“Dolce Fine Giornata”) and starring Borys Szyc “(Snow White and Russian Red”) in the lead.

Hit Norwegian drama “Beforeigners,” created by Eilif Skodvin (“Roeng”) and Anne Bjørnstad (“Lilyhammer”), directed by Jens Lien (“Viva Hate”), starring Nicolai Cleve Broch (“The Sandhamn Murders” and Krista Kosonen (“Tove”), has been greenlit for a second season by HBO Europe.

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“Yashahime” / Viz Media Viz Media

ANIMATION

Sunrise, the production team behind long running Japanese anime “Inuyasha,” has reunited to create animation series “Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon.” Will Eisner Hall-of-Famer Rumiko Takahashi also joins the team as main character design. Viz Media has taken North and Latin American territory rights.

Set in feudal Japan, the series follows separated sisters who set out on a journey transcending time.

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Rasika Dugal, Purab Kohli in “Out of Love” / BBC Studios BBC Studios

ADAPTATION RENEWAL

BBC Studios has announced a second season of “Out of Love,” their hit Indian adaptation of psychological drama, “Doctor Foster.” The first season starred Rasika Dugal and Purab Kohli, who will also reprise their roles in the second season. Dugal recently won best actress for her role at the ContentAsia 2020 awards. The series will be on India’s largest streamer, Disney Plus Hotstar.

TALENT PLAN

BBC Studioworks is launching a three-year talent plan in order to combat the acute skills shortage in the U.K. TV studios market and to increase diversity.

The plan has four elements: broadening the volume and range of trainees; increasing early years advocacy at school level; mentoring; and work experience.

BBC Studioworks also has established relationships with the National Film and Television School, sitting on its advisory board, and Elstree Screen Arts Academy where a work experience programme has successfully been in place for several years.

SALES

Park Circus, which represents over 25,000 classic films and contemporary titles, has been appointed repertory sales representative for animation studio Laika‘s library of legacy films including its five Oscar-nominated titles “Missing Link” (2019), “Kubo and the Two Strings” (2016), “The Boxtrolls” (2014), “ParaNorman” (2012), and “Coraline” (2009). The agreement pertains to most international territories in addition to the U.S.

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“ParaNorman” Laika/Park Circus