Screen 2010 Star of Tomorrow Jessica Brown Findlay, who was nominated for a 2011 BIFA for her performance in Albatross and is one of the stars of British TV hit Downton Abbey, has joined the cast of British comedy Not Another Happy Ending.
Billy Elliot actor Gary Lewis and Four Weddings And A Funeral actress Anna Chancellor have also joined the cast of the film which centres around a highly strung writer and her publisher, played by Dr Who actress Karen Gillan and another former Screen Star of Tomorrow, Emun Elliot.
John Mckay is directing from a script by David Solomons.
Clare Mundell and Wendy Griffin of Synchronicity Films are producing the film, which is due to shoot in February.
Mundell is also producing Justin Molotnikov’s second feature Blood Or Water.
Black Mirror: 15 Million Merits – the second of three episodes in Charlie Brooker’s darkly comic series – stars Downton Abbey star Jessica Brown-Findlay and veteran comedy actress Julia Davies in lead roles.
But the person whose involvement is perhaps the most intriguing is Konnie Huq – the wife of Charlie Brooker and former presenter of The Xtra Factor, the ITV2 companion show of The X Factor.
Huq co-wrote 15 Million Merits alongside Brooker, no doubt spilling secrets about the ITV juggernaut to her husband as they crafted the episode.
Konnie was Xtra Factor host for the 2010 series of the show, before being axed by bosses after receiving poor reviews from critics and viewers. Brooker abandoned his Screen Burn TV criticism column in The Guardian midway through his new wife’s stint on The Xtra Factor.
15 Million Merits is set in a time – supposedly at some point in the future – when people ‘are confined to the drudgery of real life unless they can impress the judges of a popular TV talent show’.
If the premise sounds familiar, the newly released pictures of the upcoming episode will seem like even more of a dig at The X Factor, as three judges are seen sitting behind an X Factor-style desk as they pass judgement on contestants.
The first episode of Black Mirror, The National Anthem, was a resounding success, attracting high ratings for Channel 4 and gripping critics and viewers alike.
Black Mirror: 15 Million Merits airs on Sunday at 9pm on Channel 4.
British coming-of-age comedy drama, Albatross, has been released on Video-On-Demand yesterday (2nd December), starring Jessica Brown Findlay (TV’s Downton Abbey) as 17-year-old Emelia Conan-Doyle, the heir to the legacy of Scottish writer Arthur Conan Doyle.
Directed by Niall MacCormick (TV’s The Song of Lunch), Albatross follows Emelia, an aspiring writer who hopes to follow in the literary footsteps of her grandfather, whilst she’s also working at a seaside hotel on the south coast of England, owned by writers-blocked Jonathan (Sebastian Koch – Unknown). His wife Joa (Julia Ormond – My Week with Marilyn) also runs the hotel, and Emelia becomes friends with his daughter, Beth (Felicity Jones – Like Crazy). Their friendship is soon threatened, however, when Emelia and Jonathan begin an affair after they connect over their love of books.
Premiering at the Edinburgh International Film Festival earlier this year, Brown-Findlay has received a universal praise for her performance.
The film stars a number of other Brits including Peter Vaughan, Harry Treadaway, and Thomas Brodie Sangster, and as well as the IFC films Video-On-Demand release (check your cable box on-demand section for availability) it will also have a limited theatrical release on 2nd January, 2012.
Big thanks to Lorna for her scans.
Evening Standard (UK) – December 2, 2011
Daily Express (UK) – November 8, 2011
Daily Mail (UK) – November 11, 2011
Observer (UK) – November 13, 2011
Sunday Express (UK) – November 13, 2011
Sunday Telegraph (UK) – November 6, 2011
The Times Magazine (UK) – November 12, 2011
Last but not least, please give a warm welcome to the WWW to DowntOnline, our brand new Family Affiliate Site.
“Abbey” Row — The strenght of Downton is all character”, Julian Fellowes says when asked why we love his phenomenally successful Downton Abbey quite so much. There is a perfect mix of aristocratic and servant intrigue, of big storytelling, love, gossip and beautiful people in beautiful costume. “It looks like classic period drama, but the structure is more like The West Wing“, Fellowes continues. “Everything is very quick; we shot it with the speed of a soap”.
Kate Mosse, the author of Labyrinth posted about the filming of Jessica’s first scenes for the miniseries. Spoilers for those who have not read the book!
The following day, though, summer was back. With temperatures pushing 29 degrees at midday, we decamped to the beautiful little town of Lagrasse, some 30 km from Carcassonne, to film the first of the 13th century scenes – the scene where Alaïs finds a dead man in the river (the label for his costume in wardrobe was wonderful!). It was extraordinary to see the quiet determination of the Czech actor (with wet suit and nose plugs) under his medieval robes and the stunt man in the water with him and Jessica Brown Findlay, perfect as Alaïs – beautiful, poised, other-worldly – walking in a beautiful sage green robe along the river bank with mist (from wonderful machines) being generated behind her to give the impression of a dawn in 1209.
Brown-Findlay, the actress who plays idealistic young Sybil, was shot in sultry pose by the photographer Rankin as she discussed her plans for life after Downton.
“I’m hungry for a cold and mean character. I’d love it if someone thought I could play gritty. I want to play a baddie – someone really scary,” she said.
The 22-year-old trained as a ballerina but her hopes of a dance career were dashed by injury. She took up acting as an alternative and landed her first major role in the period drama.
She told The Hunger magazine: “I feel a bit like a kid who gets into a club with their fake ID, and everyone there knows they’re under-age. To be included in these lists of ‘new talent’ with such great people is a bit bizarre.
“It’s good, though, because now I have to step up and rise to it, and learn as much as I can. That’s why I like working with people like Maggie Smith and Michelle Dockery and all these wonderful actors in Downton Abbey. If you’re going to learn anything at all, it will be from these people.”
The Hunger, Rankin’s biannual magazine, and www.thehunger.tv launch on November 17
Will they ever find love? Exclusive interviews with the Downton sisters!