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.”
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.
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.