x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Back to boarding school

Who cares about a worldwide recession when there are still movies to make?

A remake of the British boarding school comedy, St Trinian's, has been acquired by Sony Pictures Worldwide to screen on American television, Variety reports. The classic British series, which follows a dysfunctional British boarding school and its twisted group of teachers, will also be released in US theatres this summer by NeoClassics. The film is a remake of the 1950s Ealing title The Belles of St Trinian's, and was directed by Oliver Parker and Barnaby Thompson. Rupert Everett and Colin Firth star in the remake, which made more than $25 million (Dh91m) when it was released in the UK. Ealing Studios is working on a sequel, St Trinian's II: The Legend of Fritton's Gold, which is set to film in the UK this summer.

British filmmakers also hit the news this week with the announcement that the Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh has been hired to direct the independent football movie The Magnificent Eleven for Angry Badger Pictures. Set to shoot later this year, the film is a contemporary version of The Magnificent Seven and revolves around a group of amateur footballers.

A domestic release date of October 2, 2009 has been set for Michael Moore's untitled documentary about the fall of the world economy, The Hollywood Reporter writes. Set to be released through Paramount Vantage and Overture, the film is described as a "comical look at the corporate shenanigans" which lead to what Moore described as the "biggest robbery in the history of the US". At last year's Cannes Film Festival, Paramount and Overture announced that a new Moore film was in the works, but declined to specify on the subject. But the word was out when, in February, Moore posted an open letter on his website seeking a few brave individuals from Wall Street to help him "expose the biggest swindle in American history". Moore's last film was the 2006 hit Sicko, which took on the American health care system.

The French football star-turned-actor Eric Cantona has signed onto star in the new film from Herve P Gustave, otherwise known as HPG. The film centres on a relationship between two outsiders, a martial arts man and a young student who wishes to have a child. Cantona's wife, Rachida Brackni, will play the young woman in the film, which is set to shoot this fall. Cantona was front and centre at Cannes last week as the star of British director Ken Loach's festival film Looking for Eric. HPG is also no stranger to the festival with his 2006 film We Should Not Exist, which played in the Directors' Fortnight section in Cannes.

Sayed Kashua's novel Dancing Arabs is heading for the big screen with Katia Lund, the co-director of the Brazilian film City of God attached to direct the feature. Budgeted at $5 million (Dh18m), the film follows Kashua's story of his growing up as an Arab in Israel. Kashua will write the screenplay, Variety reports. The film is set to shoot later this year and is likely to use non-professional actors, which was also the case for City of God.

The former Paramount production chief Robert Evans is back in the fray with a feature film based on the British television series UFO, which the actor-turned-filmmaker is set to produce with ITV Globo. The series made its debut in 1970 and was set in 1980 at the Supreme Headquarters Defense Organization, which was a military unit charged with thwarting alien attacks on humans. The feature will be set in 2020. The Robert Evans Co has a first-look deal at Paramount, which will be first stop for the project, Variety reports.

Will Smith's Sony-based Overbrook Entertainment has secured the life rights to one of the heroes of Hurricane Katrina, the ex-marine John Keller. Keller saved 244 of his neighbours in New Orleans when their five-storey building was flooded during the 2005 hurricane, which wiped out New Orleans. John Lee Hancock (The Alamo) will direct from his own screenplay. Sony has also acquired a spec script on Keller's life written by Adetero Makinde. James Lassiter, Smith and Ken Stovitz will produce through Overbrook alongside Makinde.