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Brit List Toppers 'Sex Education' & 'Cheerleaders' Get Directors In Misha Manson-Smith & Tom Harper

by Oliver Lyttelton
February 3, 2011 3:14 AM
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The Brit List, an annual celebration of the best unproduced screenplays in the UK, may have followed in the footsteps of the Black List, but it doesn't necessarily mean the same guarantee of success. Compared to films like "The Social Network" and "Juno," which placed highly on the US list in past years, and went on to both critical and commercial success, UK equivalents like "The Men Who Stared At Goats" and "Nowhere Boy" turned out rather disappointingly, while the 2009 topper, "Good Luck Anthony Belcher," is still awaiting a green light.

But things may be turning around: the films that placed first and second in the 2010 Brit List have both landed promising directors, and are heading to begin production in the next few months. News of an open audition for "Cheerleaders," which landed second (found through the Twitter account of the film's writer, "Skins" graduate Ben Schiffer), confirms that Tom Harper, director of Playlist favorite "The Scouting Book For Boys," will make his sophomore film with the teen comedy.

Harper's been attached to the film for at least a year, but when he was hired for the Working Title romantic comedy "Lost For Words," it was unclear whether he was still involved. The audition notice confirms, however, that Harper's still on board and that the film, which follows an American teacher who attempts to bring cheerleading into a troubled school in Hackney, East London, will be shot in 3D, no less -- presumably following the giant success of homegrown hit "Street Dance 3D" last year.

"Sex Education," meanwhile, by Jamie Minoprio and Jonathan M. Stern, which came first in the list, and follows two teenage boys who try to seduce the wife of their hated teacher, also now has a helmer, according to Screen Daily. TV veteran Misha Manson-Smith, who was behind the excellent recent one-off TV drama "Excluded," the Emmy-award-winning documentary "Death in Gaza" and the Showtime/BBC comedy "La La Land," will make his big-screen debut on the project.

Ruby Films ("The Other Boleyn Girl") is producing, and the film's scheduled to go before cameras in June, although there's as yet no word on any casting. We look forward to both, although time'll tell if they're able to prove more successful than the likes of "Nowhere Boy."

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