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‘Paddington 3’ Leads Studiocanal Slate Revealed at Cannes

Paddington 2
Courtesy of Studiocanal

Paddington 3” is among a host of slate titles revealed by Studiocanal at an event in Cannes on Tuesday.

Studiocanal CEO Anna Marsh said that principal photography on the keenly anticipated project would commence in the second quarter of 2022. The film reunites Studiocanal with Heyday Films, as previously reported by Variety.

The director, cast updates and location are currently under wraps. The story is by “Paddington” 1 and 2 collaborators Paul King, Simon Farnaby and Mark Burton, and screenplay by Mark Burton, Jon Foster and James Lamont. King will executive produce.

Studiocanal also announced that it has acquired Lailaps Films Germany and will welcome producer Nils Dünker’s company lineup to the Studiocanal folds, including films and series such as “Wild Republic,” “Eine Unerhörte Frau,” “Spurlos in Marseille,” “Vorsicht vorLeuten,” “Beste Aller Welten” and “Hannes,” which opens theatrically in Germany this fall. The Lailaps production team is currently in pre-production on the next in ZDF’s successful “Ingo Thiel” series, “Gesicht der Erinnerung,” for SWR/ORF.

Multiple other film and TV projects were announced at a bullish Cannes presentation celebrating the company’s 30th anniversary, hosted by chair Maxime Saada and CEO Anna Marsh.

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In a continuation of their lucrative and long-term relationship, Studiocanal and the Picture Company confirmed that “The Flight Attendant” and “The Big Bang Theory” lead Kaley Cuoco is attached to star and produce “Role Play,” currently in development.

Written by Seth Owen, the film is set to turn on a couple whose relationship is thrust into chaos when secrets from both of their pasts are unearthed. Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman at the Picture Company will produce with Ron Halpern, Shana Eddy and Rachel Henochsberg from Studiocanal. Brillstein Partners’ George Heller serves as executive producer and Cuoco will produce via her company Yes Norman Prods.

Rona and Heineman have previously produced several of Studiocanal’s highest-profile productions starring Liam Neeson, including “Unknown,” “Non-Stop” and “The Commuter,” and are sticking with what works on the new action thriller “Retribution,” again starring the Irish action star, who appeared in a clip on set in Berlin. The film is directed by Nimrod Antal and co-stars Matthew Modine, Embeth Davidtz and Noma Dumezweni.

Studiocanal is also producing the sequel to Neeson’s “Cold Pursuit,” with director Hans Petter Moland, writer Frank Baldwin and producer Michael Shamberg all returning.

A third Studiocanal-the Picture Company co-production, horror-thriller “Baghead,” starring “The Witcher’s” Freya Allen, is similarly set to shoot in the German capital. It is directed by London-based Spaniard Alberto Corredor, expanding on his 2017 short of the same title.

Studiocanal and the Picture Company’s “Gunpowder Milkshake” premieres next week on Netflix with a Studiocanal-led global theatrical rollout later this summer. The companies are currently working on a sequel to the Karren Gillian-led action feature.

Marsh also confirmed that Colin Trevorrow’s “War Magician” will begin shooting next year, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. The film is based on David Fisher’s eponymous novel, which is being adapted by Nicholas Mariani (“The Man in the Black Suit”). It’s produced by Landscape Entertainment’s Bob Cooper; SunnyMarch’s Cumberbatch, Adam Ackland and Leah Clarke; Lonetree’s Tony Eldridge; and Bluestone’s Richard Saperstein with Studiocanal financing the film entirely. Cumberbatch’s SunnyMarch, of which Studiocanal is a shareholder, recently teamed with Studiocanal on “The Electrical Life of Louis Wain” from director Will Sharpe, releasing this fall.

Elsewhere, Studiocanal is teaming with Tresor Films and Nine Stories on “Suddenly,” a drama about a couple trapped on a South Atlantic island, to be shot on location in Iceland with stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Vanessa Kirby. Thomas Bidegain wrote and will direct.

In the kids and family realm, “Pippi Longstocking” is getting the feature treatment from Studiocanal as well, with a movie being developed with “Paddington” co-producers Heyday Films and the Astrid Lindgren Company. Multiple sequels have already been greenlit.

Hoping they have found a perennial family favorite IP, Studiocanal has greenlit a sequel to the upcoming film adaptation of Matt Haig’s “A Boy Called Christmas,” to be co-produced with Blueprint Pictures. Gil Kenan will return to write and direct the follow-up feature, with the first set to rollout this fall.

A highly anticipated sequel to Joe Cornish’s sci-fi thriller “Attack the Block” is in early development, with Film4, Complete Fiction Pictures — founded by Nira Park, Cornish and Edgar Wright — and John Boyega’s UpperRoom Prods. producing. Boyega will return for the sequel.

Tom Hanks’ Playtone is co-producing the feature adaptation of Erik Larson’s best-seller “In the Garden of Beasts.”

The Studiocanal-Imperative Entertainment’s psychological thriller “Cat Person” will begin shooting this fall. Nicholas Braun (“Succession”) and Emilia Jones (“Locke & Key”) are confirmed to star.

Studiocanal teamed with Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell to hand-pick Lee Cronin as the filmmaker to take the “Evil Dead” franchise forward. The film is currently shooting in New Zealand, and will release theatrically in 2022.

Shifting to TV, Studiocanal circled back to its beloved bear Paddington to confirm ongoing development of a third season for “The Adventures of Paddington,” the CG animated series that follows a younger version of Paddington. The series is distributed by Studiocanal, M6 and Nickelodeon globally. Principal photography is currently underway, Marsh confirmed, for the third season of Canal Plus Creation Originale and the Walt Disney Company’s “The War of the Worlds” series from Howard Overman (“Misfits”).

Announced today, Studiocanal is partnering with Editis on the development of a series adaptation of Douglas Kennedy’s best-seller “The Blue Hour.” The two companies are also partnering with Authentic Prod to produce “N.E.O.,” the first YA drama from best-selling author Michel Bussi.

Massively successful Scandi-noir series creator/showrunner Måns Mårlind (“Midnight Sun,” “Shadowplay”) is working with Studiocanal on developing a new project titled “Butcher’s Hook.” Details are scant, but the partnership is mouthwatering.

And finally, Studiocanal company Red Prods. is currently in development on “Corto Maltese,” based on Hugo Pratt’s popular graphic novel series. Andrew Knight (“Hacksaw Ridge,” “The Water Diviner”) is attached to develop the series’ scripts.

The news of “Role Play” was first reported by Deadline.

Introducing the presentation, which celebrated Studiocanal’s 30th anniversary, Maxime Saada, Canal Plus Group chairman and CEO and Studiocanal chairman,  revealed his ambition for Studiocanal to become “Europe’s answer to a Hollywood studio.” To do so, it can play off foreseeable growth at its parent, pay TV Canal Plus, he argued.

“Our platform now has 22 million subs. The target is to reach a minimum of 30 million by 2025. Canal Plus sales are approximately €3.2 billion, nearly $4 billion annually and this is going to increase and a large share of this increase will have to go to Studiocanal,” Saada said.

“There are more opportunities than ever for content creators like ourselves,” Marsh agreed. “Europe’s DNA is in essence rich and diverse. Europe is a goldmine of storytelling with a vast array of cultures that allows us to tell stories that are personable, relatable and above all universal.”