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Ridley Scott Takes on Follett's World Without End; Cast includes Nixon, Richardson, Chaplin, Firth

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood March 30, 2011 at 8:42AM

UPDATE 6/29: Principal photography will begin July 11 on World Without End, with actors Cynthia Nixon, Miranda Richardson, Ben Chaplin, Peter Firth, Charlotte Riley, Megan Follows and Sarah Gadon and more. The eight-hour series has a $44 million pricetag, and exec producer Rola Bauer says; "Our strategy has always been to bring cinematic values to television. In addition to having Michael Caton-Jones’ strong and experienced directorial vision on all eight hours of this epic thriller, we have assembled an exemplary cast who will make these great characters come alive on screen and attract audiences worldwide.”
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Thompson on Hollywood


UPDATE 6/29: Principal photography will begin July 11 on World Without End, with actors Cynthia Nixon, Miranda Richardson, Ben Chaplin, Peter Firth, Charlotte Riley, Megan Follows and Sarah Gadon and more. The eight-hour series has a $44 million pricetag, and exec producer Rola Bauer says; "Our strategy has always been to bring cinematic values to television. In addition to having Michael Caton-Jones’ strong and experienced directorial vision on all eight hours of this epic thriller, we have assembled an exemplary cast who will make these great characters come alive on screen and attract audiences worldwide.”

EARLIER: Scott Free Productions is adapting Ken Follett's bestseller World Without End (the sequel to The Pillars of the Earth) into an eight-hour follow up series to Starz's well-received Pillar mini-series, along with Tandem Communications and Take 5 Productions.

This Boy's Life director Michael Caton-Jones will helm the project, which starts shooting this July in Hungary. Executive Producer Ridley Scott says "Michael will bring an authoritative and experienced directorial voice to this sweeping epic." Screenwriter John Pielmeier (who also took on The Pillars of the Earth) is adapting the novel.

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Scott's Scott Free is also developing a story on Gertrude Bell, the British political attaché, administrator, traveller and archaeologists who lived (1868-1926) during the turn of the century and whose work was instrumental in forming the states of Iraq and Jordan. ThePlaylist points out this is bad news for Werner Herzog, who was planning his own Bell film (possibly with Naomi Watts), but with the caveat that Scott "attaches himself to a new project seemingly every month or so," so the conflict may be premature. Scott's project is to be written by Jeffrey Caine, who was nominated for an Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar in 2006 for Fernando Meirelles's The Constant Gardner.

This article is related to: Directors, Genres, Headliners, News, TV, Production , Ridley Scott, Period, Biopics, Books


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.