LENNY ABRAHAMSON AND ELEMENT PICTURES TO BRING EMMA DONOGHUE’S ACCLAIMED ROOM TO THE SCREEN

Lenny Abrahamson (What Richard Did, Garage) will direct the film adaptation of the international bestseller ROOM, with a script by author Emma Donoghue, and Ed Guiney of Element Pictures producing.

Shortlisted for the Man Booker, Orange and Commonwealth Prizes, ROOM has sold two and half million copies in English and appeared in thirty-five other languages.

ROOM tells the story of Jack, a five-year-old growing up somewhere in America in an 11-by-11-foot shed he believes to be the whole world; his playful, devoted young mother has shielded him from the truth that they are captives.

The New York Times hailed Donoghue’s novel as ‘one of the pure triumphs of recent fiction… palm-sweatingly harrowing’, while Time called it ‘a feat of infectious claustrophobia’; the Irish Times described it as ‘part childhood adventure story, part adult thriller… above all the most vivid, radiant and beautiful expression of maternal love’.

Abrahamson, who is currently in post-production on his feature Frank, starring Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Michael Fassbender, says ‘ROOM is an extraordinary novel – deeply original, harrowing, full of moments of almost unbearable tension, but also – and this is what is so special about it – profoundly life-affirming. From the moment I read it I wanted to make it for the screen and so I am truly delighted to be working with Emma on the film adaptation.’

Emma Donoghue, who lives in Canada, began writing the screenplay as soon as ROOM (her seventh novel) was published. She is overjoyed to be making the film with her fellow Dubliners Abrahamson and Guiney. ‘It wasn’t just Lenny’s award-winning, impeccably honest films that won me over, but a ten-page letter he sent me, describing with passionate intelligence his vision of how to translate my novel into cinema. As an Irish company with strong international relationships, Element has a track record of combining artistic integrity and commercial appeal, which gives me confidence that ROOM is going to be something very special.’

Ed Guiney (The Guard, Shadow Dancer), who has been involved the production of all of Abrahamson’s films says ‘from the moment we first encountered ROOM we were entranced by the story and the possibility of making it as a film. I couldn’t be more excited about what Lenny and Emma will do in adapting this remarkable novel for the screen.’

Donoghue’s screen agent for ROOM, United Talent Agency negotiated the film rights on behalf of the author and publishing agents Kathy Anderson in New York and Caroline Davidson in London. UTA is also representing North American rights in the film and will work closely with Element on its financing.

MICHAEL FASSBENDER AND DOMHNALL GLEESON TO STAR IN LENNY ABRAHAMSON FILM FRANK

Michael Fassbender (12 Years A Slave, Prometheus, Shame) and Domhnall Gleeson (True Grit, Harry Potter, Anna Karenina) are attached to star in Lenny Abrahamson’s next project FRANK.

FRANK is written by Jon Ronson (The Men Who Stare at Goats) and Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Men Who Stare At Goats) and has been developed by Film4 who will also co-finance the film with the Irish Film Board.

FRANK is a comedy about a young wannabe musician, Jon (Gleeson), who discovers he’s bitten off more than he can chew when he joins an eccentric pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank (Fassbender).

Speaking on the announcement, producer Ed Guiney of Element Pictures commented that: ‘FRANK is a wonderfully funny script which brings together Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson and Lenny Abrahamson three of the most exciting Irish talents working in cinema today’.

James Hickey, Chief Executive, Bord Scannán na hÉireann/The Irish Film Board (IFB) added “We are delighted to be working with Element Pictures and Film4 on this exciting project. Lenny is a great Irish filmmaker while Michael and Domhnall are exceptional world class Irish actors making this project a wonderful opportunity for the Irish Film Board to support Irish talent on the world stage.”

Fassbender, who won Best Actor in Venice in 2011 for his performance in Steve McQueen’s Shame, is currently shooting Ridley Scott’s The Counselor alongside Brad Pitt and Cameron Diaz, while Domhnall Gleeson recently finished shooting Richard Curtis’ new comedy About Time, and was recently named as one of Variety’s ’10 Actors to Watch’.

FRANK will mark the fourth feature film collaboration between Abrahamson and Element Pictures. Past features include Garage, which won the CICAE Prize in Cannes 2007, and Adam & Paul which won Best Director award at the Irish Film and TV Awards. Abrahamson’s current film What Richard Did will premiere at the Toronto Film festival in mid-September and is being released in Irish cinemas on October 5th through Element Pictures Distribution.

FRANK is a co-production between Runaway Fridge and Element Pictures and will be produced by David Barron, Ed Guiney and Stevie Lee. Exec producers for Film4 are Tessa Ross and Katherine Butler and for Element Pictures, Andrew Lowe. Protagonist Pictures are handling international sales. FRANK is scheduled to commence principal photography late 2012.

MAJOR ANGLO-IRISH CO PRODUCTION BRINGS JOHN BANVILLE’S ACCLAIMED NOVELS TO THE SCREEN

Based on the books by Benjamin Black (pseudonym of award-winning Irish writer John Banville), Quirke is a new series for BBC ONE adapted by screenwriters Andrew Davies and Conor McPherson and starring Gabriel Byrne in the title role.

Quirke (we never get to know his Christian name) is the chief pathologist in the Dublin city morgue – a charismatic loner whose job takes him into unexpected places as he uncovers the secrets of sudden death in 1950s Dublin. It’s a rich and smouldering world along whose smoky streets and damp alleys Quirke goes from bars that glimmer with peat fires and whiskey to elegant Dublin houses brimming with sexual tension. It’s a time full of mystery, secrets and intrigue.

Each episode will see him investigate the death of one of the unfortunate souls who end up on his mortuary slab. But as Quirke turns accidental detective he discovers his investigations are often more closely linked to his own life than he could ever have imagined. Little by little he is forced to confront the sins of his past as he peels back the layers of his own tangled family history.

The three feature length episodes each take their stories from different books in the series, ‘Christine Falls’ and ‘The Silver Swan’ by Andrew Davies and ‘Elegy for April’ by Conor McPherson. Commissioned by Danny Cohen, Controller BBC One and Ben Stephenson, Controller Drama Commissioning.

John Banville says: “I am very excited by the prospect of seeing my character Quirke incarnated by Gabriel Byrne, a perfect choice for the part. I know both Quirke and Benjamin Black will be wonderfully served by Andrew Davies and Conor McPherson, two masters of their craft. “

John McColgan, Founding Director, Tyrone Productions adds: “As a friend and colleague of Gabriel Byrne over the years I am thrilled to see him bringing the brilliant mercurial character of Quirke as created by John Banville to screens worldwide. BBC Drama has brought an incredible pool of writing talent to this project and I’m looking forward to seeing their scripts going into production.”

Ed Guiney, Executive Producer, Element Pictures adds: “Noir Dublin in the 50’s seen through John Banville’s eyes is such an appealing prospect. And who better to go on the journey with than Gabriel Byrne. We could not be more excited about being part of bringing this to the screen with the BBC and Tyrone.”

James Hickey, Chief Executive, Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board adds: “The Irish Film Board is delighted to be supporting Tyrone Productions and Element Pictures in this new drama TV series Quirke. The series will be a great opportunity to showcase Irish talent including Irish novelist Benjamin Black (John Banville), Irish screenwriter Conor McPherson and one of the great actors Gabriel Byrne in a quintessential Irish setting of Dublin in the 1950’s. The participation of the BBC in this wonderful Irish project is also greatly welcomed”.

The series is a co-production between BBC Drama Production and Dublin-based companies Element Pictures and Tyrone Productions. It is 3X 90 minutes and filming begins in Dublin later this year. The Executive Producers are Jessica Pope for the BBC, Ed Guiney for Element Pictures and Joan Egan for Tyrone Productions. Lisa Osborne is the BBC Producer and John Alexander is the director of the first film ‘Christine Falls’.