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  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    That's enough, actually



    After 10 years of smash hits, from Four Weddings to Bridget Jones, the UK's top film company is calling time on its typically British romantic comedies



    Jason Solomons and David Smith

    Sunday November 14, 2004

    The Observer



    A gleaming London of sunshine or snow, of middle-class heartbreaks and happy endings, where no one gets stuck on the Tube and nothing looks dirty. Cut to a beautiful American, some hilarious oddballs and a self-deprecating hero, usually played by a stammering Hugh Grant.

    In simple form, these have been the more or less constant ingredients of the most successful British film genres ever made - the romantic comedies of production company Working Title. But now the style, derided by critics as formulaic, has run out of steam. The cinematic era of glossy, eccentric, loved-up London, as distinctive in its way as the Ealing comedies, is at an end.



    After 10 years of international hits, from Four Weddings and a Funeral in 1994 to this weekend's Bridget Jones: the Edge of Reason, the production company has decided its very particular brand of 'rom com' will not be repeated.



    At the end of a week in which Grant soured the Bridget Jones premiere by claiming that making the film was 'pure purgatory' and revealing his intention to quit, and with screenwriter Richard Curtis involved in other projects, Working Title has signalled a change of direction. A little piece of 1990s history, which spilled over into the new century, is over.



    Tim Bevan, co-founder of the company, told The Observer : 'Will Working Title continue to produce films that are aiming to work all around the world? Of course they will. But it's safe to say there is a certain sort of romantic comedy that we would be stupid to go out and make again. You have to evolve.



    'Will Richard Curtis make a Love Actually again? I doubt it very much, because he's a very smart guy and he'll make something different. Will Hugh be in another romantic comedy? Who knows, if he gets offered the right one? The thing about all of us is we like to make commercial films and if it's not in this arena we'll try another arena. We tried it with Thunderbirds [a movie flop this year] and it didn't work, but we'll try it with something else.'



    Working Title, set up in 1982 by Bevan and Sarah Radclyffe, changed the face of the British film industry and is Europe's most successful production company with box office takings of $2.5 billion. Bevan and fellow producer, Eric Fellner, have been the driving forces, while Curtis has written many of the screenplays.



    Not all will mourn their passing. Gerald Kaufman, the Labour MP and film buff, said: 'They are some of the most awful British films ever. One reaches for the sick bag when they come on. They're so coy and twee and smug. I'll be glad to say goodbye to them. If you're asking if they added class to the British film industry like the Ealing comedies, the answer is emphatically no.'



    Many moviegoers do not agree. The Bridget sequel is taking cinemas by storm, as did Love Actually last Christmas, but both received a critical mauling, with the New York Times observing: ' Love Actually is a patchwork of contrived naughtiness and forced pathos, an indigestible Christmas pudding from the British whimsy factory.'



    In Wimbledon, released earlier this year, the producers seemed to be grooming Paul Bettany as a successor to Grant - deemed too old for the part of a tennis player - in the role of English romantic hero, but the film failed to make a major impact.



    Bevan, a producer on both films as well as Working Title hits including Notting Hill and About a Boy, denied the backlash had forced a change of course. 'I'm sure on Monday morning this film [ Bridget Jones ] will have made a bucketload of money. Love Actually and, I suspect, Bridget 2 will be the most successful films we've ever had in Britain.



    'Britain seems to be thumping them hardest, but the audiences are speaking very loudly, so it's an odd, odd thing. Who cares what the critics think? When you go out and make a more overtly artistic movie that requires critical support, it's a different thing. If we make films thinking what are the critics going to say about it, we probably wouldn't make any.



    'But you want to evolve and on our upcoming slate there's a thriller directed by Sydney Pollack, then there's Pride and Prejudice, which has an amazing director and an excellent script.'



    The Pollack movie is The Interpreter, starring Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn, while Pride and Prejudice, adapted by Deborah Moggach, has a cast including Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen. Forthcoming films also include Nanny McPhee, written by and starring Emma Thompson, and Mickybo and Me, a Belfast-set memoir starring Julie Walters, Gina McKee and two young newcomers. But plans for a romantic comedy in the style which has become loved or loathed are conspicuously absent.



    Bevan concluded: 'Nobody here who's been involved in the making of these very successful romantic comedies is a stupid person, and they're going to look at what's going on quite carefully before they put their pen in ink or put their film in camera.



    'Richard Curtis is busy on Comic Relief and will be for eight or nine months, then he's not sure what he's going to write next. He'll undoubtedly write a screenplay for Working Title but what it's about I haven't a clue - maybe it'll be about miners.'



    Although best known for its romantic comedies, Working Title has a long track record in other genres, with titles including Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie, Elizabeth, Billy Elliot, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Johnny English and Thunderbirds.



    Last night the British film industry was digesting the implications of Working Title's gear shift. Stewart Till, chief executive of United International Pictures in the UK and new chairman of the UK Film Council, said: 'They have made a huge contribution to the industry. A big majority of our successes in the last few years have been Working Title romantic comedies. They are as successful in the rest of the world as in the UK - the new Bridget Jones will do as much business in France and Germany as here. There is no pretence that these films show Britain from A to Z, and we wouldn't want only Working Title romantic comedies, but it's not a bad part of Britain to show off to the world.'



    The success story would continue, he added.



    Ten years of living nicely



    Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)



    Worldwide box office: $258m



    Working Title's breakthrough hit, made for $4m, was one of the highest-grossing British films in cinema history. Mike Newell directed, Hugh Grant starred.



    Tagline: He's quite engaging. She's otherwise engaged.



    Memorable line: Charles (played by Grant): 'Ehm, look. Sorry, sorry. I just, ehm, well, this is a very stupid question and ..., but I just wondered, by any chance, ehm, eh, I mean obviously not because I guess I've only slept with 9 people, but-but I-I just wondered... ehh. I really feel, ehh, in short, to recap it slightly in a clearer version, eh, the words of David Cassidy eh, "I think I love you,".'



    Notting Hill (1999)



    Worldwide box office: $364m



    The romantic comedy starring Grant and Julia Roberts became the first British film to take more than $100m.



    Tagline: Can the most famous film star in the world fall for just an ordinary guy?



    Memorable line: Spike (Rhys Ifans): 'I'm going to tell you a story that will make your balls shrink to the size of raisins.'



    Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)



    Worldwide box office: $280m



    Based on Helen Fielding's book, this took more than £40m in the UK.



    Tagline: It's Monday morning, Bridget has woken up with a headache, a hangover and her boss.



    Memorable line: Bridget (Renée Zellweger), answering phone: 'Bridget Jones, wanton sex goddess, with a very bad man between her thighs ... Mum ... Hi.



    About a Boy (2002)



    Worldwide box office: $130m



    Paul and Chris Weitz, the writer and director duo behind American Pie, adapted Nick Hornby's novel about a spoilt London bachelor.



    Tagline: Growing up has nothing to do with age.



    Memorable line: Will (Grant): I'd be the worst possible godfather. I'd forget all her birthdays until she was 18. Then I'd take her out and get her drunk. And, let's face it, quite possibly try and shag her.'



    · Research by Linda MacDonald

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Country: Fiji
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    :) thumbs_u clap



    There just aren't enough Graemlins permitted to allow me to express my pure, heartfelt and unalloyed JOY at this announcement....



    I'm simply slipping into hysteric



    It's ghostly !



    help



    TOO LATE ! I've gone.... neener



    SMUDGE

  3. #3
    Senior Member Country: UK Freddy's Avatar
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    Can we expect an announcement from No. 10?

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Country: Scotland
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    I like Gerald Kaufman's comment.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all group together and form our own movie company "United Lovers Of Good Films". Now what would be our first film and who would be in it?

    I'll write the screenplay!

    Ta Ta

    Marky David Lean B thumbs_u

  6. #6
    Senior Member Country: United States
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    </div><div class='quotemain'>Marky B:

    Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all group together and form our own movie company "United Lovers Of Good Films". Now what would be our first film and who would be in it?

    I'll write the screenplay!

    Ta Ta

    Marky David Lean B thumbs_u [/b]
    "The Sweetest Find"



    Written by Marky B

    Produced by DB7

    Directed by Steve Crook

    Photographed by Freddy

    Irish locations directed/photographed by Liam

    Talent and Research by Aphra

    Staring Pam, Decks, David (all of them), Rob, Smudge and the rest...



    Score by John Barry (at least we'll ask)



    Shot in B&W and Technicolor



    A P&P/Ealingesque comedy that will contain many of our (still living) favourites from 40-60s film with some recents thrown in for continuity.



    A small village baker has found a recipe for a confection that will induce fraternity amongst eaters. He tries to develop a cottage industry that will build up his small village, but a product scout from a chockie multi-national, based in the Duchy of the Stroppy Islands, steals the recipe. Meanwhile, the baker has secured a loan to help his village and the local fisherman's daughter, who is calling her best friend, picks up the cell call between Stroppy scout and his boss, who approves of the heist. What follows is a chase around the British Isles and Ireland, which culminates in the Stroppies.



    An instant fun classic. Locations and cameos a plenty, which will provide conversations and reruns for years to come.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    If you cant get "Barry" i'll do the score i'm cheaper in every respect! lol if there's any chance of product placement may i humbly suggest we go for guiness(it's good for you) and plymouth gin sponsership! wink



    cheers Ollie.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Country: United States
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    "The Sweetest Find"



    Written by Marky B

    Produced by DB7

    Directed by Steve Crook

    Photographed by Freddy

    Irish locations directed/photographed by Liam

    Talent and Research by Aphra

    Staring Pam, Decks, David (all of them), Rob, Smudge and the rest...



    Score by Ollie (Best value composer)



    Sponsorships: To Be Decided. We have to taste the food and drive the cars first.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    A hero from the English Civil War (Orlando Bloom) has asked for a home in the west as a rewards for his brave deeds. He finally settles with a tribe who speaks Welsh and he is renamed Dances With Corgis.

    Produced by DB7 and Steve Crook

    Directed by Gibbie

    Written by Marky B

    Director of Photography by anyone with the best camcorder

    Music by Charlotte Church (she might need the money soon wink )

    With a cast of thousands (well all on this website,remember this our production,and it's all hands on)

    Watch out Oscars,we're on our way

    Ta Ta

    Marky B

    scarf

  10. #10
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    Charlotte Church could also play Orlando Bloom's love interest, Stands With Bacardi Breezers in Fists.

    Ta Ta

    Marky B thumbs_u

  11. #11
    Senior Member Country: United States
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    What an idea!



    One more and we're off to NESTA for support!



    Gibbie

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