It’s an English-country-house suspense thriller in the time-honored tradition,” Bill Nighy says of Ordeal by Innocence, a three-part television adaptation of Agatha Christie’s novel, following last year’s The Witness for the Prosecution and 2015’s And Then There Were None. It will appear this Christmas on the BBC in the U.K. and early next year on Amazon in the U.S. The story is set at Christmastime, in 1954, and Nighy stars as Leo Argyll, a gentleman and an amateur Egyptologist. Nighy was first attracted to the project by, he explains, the “brilliant script, the director, the cast, and the period, and I’m keen on the genre generally.” He continues: “A large part of its appeal was the period—how much our relationships and social structures have changed, and the nostalgia and curiosity we all feel for what happened 60 or 70 years ago.”
Co-starring is Anna Chancellor as Rachel Argyll, a perfect wife to Leo and mother to five adopted children, who is brutally murdered. “It’s a rather cruel Christie for Christmas,” says writer Sarah Phelps. “A nice murder, twisted deviance, and savagery—it makes you realize you quite like your own family!”
“It’s about what kills her, not who,” Phelps says, adding that “women had become weaponized postwar—they were what we’d been fighting for, the perfect hearth, home, family . . . but Rachel kept a dark secret.” Executive producer James Prichard, Christie’s great-grandson, echoes Phelps: “Everything’s perfect on top, but underneath the water everything is chaos. What I love is that it is really subversive, an incredibly screwed-up family at Christmas.” Nighy concurs: “All families have their ups and downs, but this one, bloomin’ hell!”
Director Sandra Goldbacher was looking for “an All About Eve tone, darkly glittering old-style glamour and snappy one-liners.” As for the viewers, Nighy says, “I have a vision of every family around their TV arguing about who’s done it, because the audience will confidently suspect all the characters at some time during the show.” A perfect Christmas feast, then, and there are six more in the pipeline.
Screen Captures from the trailer
Raindance 2017 reviews:
A cowboy, a mermaid and a bee walk into a lavish mansion. If you’re already sitting up and paying attention, Bees Make Honey is for you. A 1930s murder mystery, it’s a movie that leans into the dated feel of an old joke with such enthusiasm and energy that it’s impossible not to enjoy it and get swept along by its wit.
Alice Eve is on knockout form as Honey, a widow who hires an investigator (Inspector Shoerope – Wilf Scolding) to help her solve the death of her husband. From the off, she seizes the leading lady role with relish, a femme fatale playing the part of a femme fatale with a knowing dash of sass, smarts and shade. Her case? Get Shoerope to join her Halloween costume party, where everyone there is effectively reenacting the same shindig from last year, where her beloved kicked the bucket.
Costumes give way to extreme secrets, hidden plans and unspoken identities, while the production design captures the period vibe with panache, reinforcing the hint of artifice among the authenticity. Director Jack Eve zips across the stylish surface with dazzling visual flourishes, swapping about aspect ratios, slinging out split-screens and zooming into freeze-frames as he goes.
Part of the fun is seeing the announcement of a new filmmaking talent with such confidence – somewhere between Sofia Coppola and Baz Luhrmann, Eve feels like a unique voice racing to express every idea he can. (Adam Gough, whose CV ranges from In Bruges to X-Men: First Class, is an excellent editor, while Richard Stoddard’s cinematography and Ryan Beveridge’s score ooze a knowing class.) But the rest of the fun lies in watching the cast have so much fun with their roles, from The Halcyon’s Hermione Corfield as Honey’s amusing, glamorous friend to a scene-stealing Joshua McGuire, who, after a superb turn on stage in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, is on wise-cracking, slapstick form.
The plot doesn’t amount to as much as you might wish, but the script (also by Eve) never fails to entertain, blending the absurd with the familiar genre tropes, while chucking in swear words to keep things feeling unpredictably modern. By the time Trevor Eve turns up dressed as Captain Hook, you’ll be grinning from ear to ear. Produced by Alice and Jack, this is a family affair – and, when it comes to old-school murder mysteries, Agatha Christie fans wouldn’t have it any other way. Somebody snap this up for UK distribution.
Screenings: Saturday 23rd September, 8.15pm / Wednesday 27th September, 1pm
Acclaimed British actress Alice Eve is known for her work in film, television and theatre. She recently starred in an episode of Netflix’s hit series Black Mirror opposite Bryce Dallas Howard.
Her recent film credits include CIA operative Marta Lynch in Criminal, and Brooke Dalton in Before We Go. In 2013, she played Carol Marcus in Star Trek Into Darkness opposite Chris Pine. Alice will also star in the upcoming sci-fi thriller Replicas, alongside Keanu Reeves.
In Ordeal by Innocence Alice Eve takes on the role of Gwenda Vaughan. High heels and hourglass figure poured into her clothes. Former secretary to The Argyll Trust for Orphans and Neglected Children, Gwenda’s cunning has elevated her to the position of soon-to-be the second Mrs Argyll.
Thomas Haden Church, Alice Eve, and Finn Wittrock will star in the comedy thriller “Green Olds,” with Max Mayer directing.
Myriad Pictures will launch international sales at the Toronto International Film Fetsival. CAA is handling domestic sales.
Mayer is directing from a script written by Dallas Mitchell Brennan in which a young man who encounters a married couple soon finds himself swept into a strange and dangerous love triangle — played out on the road against the stark landscape of the American Southwest.
“I look forward with great joy to working with such a dynamically gifted team to tell a story I find so darkly funny, compelling, and emotionally truthful,” Mayer said.
“Green Olds” will be produced by Wild Invention Pictures with Wild Invention’s Dallas Brennan, Chris Gilligan, and Rabinder Sira serving as producers. George Parra (“Silver Linings Playbook”) will also produce along with Monolith Pictures’ Michael Goodin. Myriad Pictures’ Kirk D’Amico and PalmStar Media’s Josh Monkarsh will serve as executive producers.
The film is financed by Gregory Shockro of GPS Film Partners and Porter Farrell of Turnpike Pictures.
The deal was negotiated by Myriad’s Kevin Forester and Audrey Delaney with Robert L. Seigel representing the filmmakers.
Content Media was acquired worldwide sales rights to British murder mystery comedy “Bees Make Honey,” the company said Wednesday. The film, which stars Alice Eve, is set to make its world premiere at the Raindance Film Festival in London on Sept. 23. Content will introduce the film to buyers in Toronto next month.
The sophomore feature of Eve’s younger brother Jack Eve, who wrote, directed and produced the film, “Bees Make Honey” is set in England in 1934. It sees Alice Eve’s high-society widow, hosting her annual Halloween costume party for her friends, secretly employ a police inspector to solve the crime of the murder of her husband that took place at the same event one year earlier.
“Jack has taken a traditional whodunit format, infused it with a Baz Luhrmann-like energy, and combined it with a wonderful old school British comedy,” said Jamie Carmichael, president of film at Content.
“Bees Make Honey” co-stars Wilf Scolding, Hermione Corfield, Ivanno Jeremiah, Josephine De La Baume, Trevor Eve, Joshua McGuire, Anatole Taubman and Chloe McClay. It is an Xploseve production in association with Flexibon Films, with A.J. Riach also serving as producer. Steve Clark-Hall, Jonathan Feuer, David Moores, Babatunde Soyoye, Rodney Dukes, Jeremy Davidson, Alice Eve and Paul J. Morrissey all serve as executive producers.
Australian director Ben Lewin’s latest film, Please Stand By, has been selected to screen at the Austin Film Festival in Texas. It is the first film by the Melburnian since his Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA-nominated 2012 feature, The Sessions, starring Helen Hunt and John Hawkes.
His new comedy drama stars Toni Collette, Alice Eve and Dakota Fanning and was written by Grimm’s Michael Golamco.
Lewin’s next film, The Catcher Was A Spy, featuring a strong ensemble cast including Paul Rudd, Guy Pearce, Sienna Miller, Paul Giammati, Tom Wilkinson and Mark Strong, is believed to have wrapped principal photography.
Lewin is best known in Australia for creating the TV series Rafferty’s Rules and the mid-1990s feature Paperback Romance, starring Gia Carides and Anthony LaPaglia.
Please Stand By will premiere in Austin in October next to the season finale of HBO’s new drama from The Wire’s David Simon, The Deuce, and the new romantic comedy Amanda and Jack Go Glamping starring David Arquette and Amy Acker, written and directed by Brandon Dickerson.
‘Ordeal By Innocence,’ starring Bill Nighy and Alice Eve,
Amazon is getting a major dose of Agatha Christie. The streaming studio announced the development of multiple TV series based on works by the iconic mystery writer — and the first will be Ordeal By Innocence, which already started production in the U.K. with actors Bill Nighy, Alice Eve, and Ed Westwick.
Run by Christie’s great-grandson James Prichard, Agatha Christie Limited, which manages the literary and media rights to the author’s works, partnered with Amazon on this deal. The goal is to add even more original offerings to the streaming platform’s roster of programming.
Ordeal By Innocence centers on the Argyll family. The black sheep, Jack Argyll, was accused of murdering their matriarch a year ago, but now a man shows up on their doorstep claiming Jack’s innocence. The family must come to terms with this news and the fact that the real killer might still be among them.
The cast is rounded out by Ella Purnell (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children), Matthew Goode (The Good Wife), Catherine Keener (Get Out), Luke Treadaway (Fortitude), Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark), and Morven Christie (The A Word).Sarah Phelps, who worked on previous Christie adaptations And Then There Were None and The Witness for the Prosecution for BBC One, executive produces Ordeal By Innocence.
“The brand of Agatha Christie resonates around the world,” Chris Rice of WME, which brokered the deal, said in a statement. “We couldn’t be happier to have Amazon as our U.S. home for this franchise. We think the series of specials will attract great auteurs and actors to create compelling content for audiences everywhere.”
The series will be released internationally on BBC One.
As I head to Scotland to start work for the @Bbc for the second time (my first time was one scene with Cumberbatch, who was playing Hawking – before Eddie – and was a great set host) I am posting this video of what I did for entertainment behind the scenes of Nosedive, for Joe Wright. I am very excited to be working for @Bbc, which feels like home to me, my father having worked for them for so long. We are doing Ordeal By Innocence, an Agatha Christie adaptation and I play Gwenda. #ILoveGwenda.