By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com May 13, 2011 at 5:18AM
Ridley and Tony Scott (pictured above, with Jerry Bruckheimer) are prolific enough as directors -- the former currently shooting his return to the sci-fi world that turned out his best film, with the intriguing "Prometheus," the latter coming off his best film in years, the hugely enjoyable actioner "Unstoppable." But they're also hugely prolific producers, through their Scott Free banner, being behind not only their own projects, but also those for other filmmakers, like "In Her Shoes," "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," "The A-Team" and "Cyrus," as well as TV work like "The Good Wife" and "The Pillars of the Earth."
The company's British arm, Scott Free U.K, arrived at Cannes with an impressive, very diverse slate of projects that they hope to get going in the next few years. The most imminent seems to be an untitled Christmas family film from horror director Christopher Smith ("Severance," "Triangle" and "Black Death"), about a getaway driver and his son, who cross path with Santa Claus. It's certainly a change of pace for Smith, but we've liked aspects of all of his work so far, even if he hasn't hit a home run. He's currently writing another draft of the project, and the intention is that he'll direct it later in the year, as long as it attracts financiers at the festival. 20th Century Fox has a first-look deal with the company, so it may end up being the eventual home.
The company's head Liza Marshall also unveiled a number of other projects, aside from the previously-announced crime drama "Welcome to the Punch," with James McAvoy and Mark Strong. The biggest name involved is Emma Thompson, who will star and executive-produce in a comedy entitled "Settle Down," which is penned by popular British comedienne Katy Brand -- the duo appeared together in the "Nanny McPhee" sequel, which is presumably how it came about. There's no word yet on a premise, or on when it might get moving.
Otherwise, "Brighton Rock" director Rowan Joffe is adapting S.J. Watson's novel "Before I Go To Sleep" for the company, about a woman who wakes up one morning unable to remember who her husband is. There are two other novel adaptations in the works, the first being "The Last Werewolf," the first in a planned trilogy by author Glen Duncan ("I, Lucifer"), a 'dark, sexual tale' about a suicidal werewolf who falls in love with a female lycanthrope while traveling to Paris, for which an unnamed writer is currently in talks.
Finally, there's "Blood Red Road," a young adult novel that's set to be published next month by Moira Young. The post-apocalyptic tale revolves around a boy snatched by black riders suddenly, and his twin sister, who sets out to rescue him. The film, being viewed as a potential franchise named "Dustlands," is being written by Playlist favorite Jack Thorne ("The Scouting Book For Boys"), who clearly impressed the company with his work on their TV project "Pigeon English." It's suggested that the film has attracted the eye of Ridley Scott himself, so it's possible that this could end up as his first project once "Prometheus" is done, although the director is always percolating a dozen or so projects at a time, so there's no guarantee that he'll be involved. Still, an unusually ambitious slate for a U.K. company, and we look forward to hearing more from the films down the line. [The Hollywood Reporter]