MASTERPIECE on PBS and Arclight Films Reunite Downton Abbey Writer and Star Julian Fellowes to Script The Chaperone Starring Elizabeth McGovern
PBS and MASTERPIECE have announced that MASTERPIECE is producing its first feature film which will reunite the writer, director and star of Downton Abbey. The Chaperone, based on Laura Moriarty’s best-selling American novel, will be scripted by Julian Fellowes, directed by Michael Engler, and star Elizabeth McGovern, who played Lady Grantham in the hit series. It will air on PBS stations nationwide after its initial theatrical run.
The Chaperone takes place against the backdrop of the tumultuous times of the early 1920’s. A Kansas woman (McGovern) is forever changed when she chaperones a beautiful and talented 15-year-old dancer (Julia Goldani Telles, The Affair) named Louise Brooks to New York for the summer. One of them is eager to fulfill her destiny of dance and movie stardom; the other is on a mission to unearth the mysteries of her past.
Speaking at the PBS Annual Meeting in San Diego, MASTERPIECE Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton said, “It feels so right to reunite Julian Fellowes, Elizabeth McGovern, and director Michael Engler for our first feature film. Like Downton Abbey, The Chaperone is a beautifully told period drama set in a changing world, but now the setting is New York City.”
Arclight Films is financing and is handling international sales for The Chaperone. PBS Distribution will distribute the film theatrically and to home entertainment markets in the U.S. UTA Independent Film Group handled North America rights. The finance for The Chaperone is provided by Altus Media of which Paul Brett and John Fields are directors and for which Peter Nichols acts as a consultant. The Chaperone is a coproduction of MASTERPIECE and Rose Pictures, in association with Anonymous Content.
Julian Fellowes said, “I am absolutely delighted to be working with MASTERPIECE and Elizabeth McGovern on The Chaperone, based on Laura Moriarty's novel, which is captivating and beguiling and resonant in so many ways.”
“It is a thrill and an honor to be working with MASTERPIECE and Julian again on his beautiful adaptation of The Chaperone, and to be in the expert hands of director Michael Engler,” said McGovern.
“We’re honored to be working with the legendary Julian Fellowes, MASTERPIECE, and the entire team behind The Chaperone,” said Gary Hamilton, Managing Director of Arclight Films.
The Chaperone is a coproduction of MASTERPIECE and Rose Pictures in association with Anonymous Content. The Executive Producers are Rebecca Eaton, Simon Curtis, Eli Selden and Adam Shulman. The producers are Elizabeth McGovern, Rose Ganguzza, Kelly Carmichael, Victoria Hill and Gary Hamilton. It is adapted by Julian Fellowes from the novel by Laura Moriarty. The director is Michael Engler.
Julian Fellowes and Simon Curtis are represented by UTA. Elizabeth McGovern is represented by UTA and Anonymous Content. Multiple Emmy® and DGA-nominated director Michael Engler is represented by WME, Anonymous Content, and Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal Laviolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman LLP.
Arclight Films is presenting the film to distributors in Cannes this month.
The top-rated primetime show on PBS, MASTERPIECE celebrated its 45th anniversary in 2016. MASTERPIECE is presented on PBS by WGBH Boston. Rebecca Eaton is executive producer. Funding for the series is provided by Viking Cruises and Farmers Insurance® with additional support from public television viewers and contributors to The MASTERPIECE Trust. MASTERPIECE is known for presenting iconic shows such as Upstairs Downstairs, Prime Suspect, The Forsyte Saga, Poldark, Sherlock, Downton Abbey and Victoria.
About PBS Distribution
PBS Distribution is the leading media distributor for the public television community, both domestically and internationally, extending the reach of programs beyond broadcast while generating revenue for the public television system and production partners. PBS Distribution offers its customers a diverse range of programming, including Ken Burns’s films, documentaries from award-winning series such as NOVA, FRONTLINE, AMERICAN MASTERS, NATURE and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, and dramas from MASTERPIECE, as well as films from independent producers and popular children’s programs. As a multi-channel distributor, PBS Distribution offers consumers high-quality content in multiple formats including DVD, Blu-ray, digital formats. PBS Distribution reaches expanded audiences through PBS International, a leading source for factual content for broadcast, cable and satellite services outside of North America, and through specialized distribution in the theatrical, festival and non-theatrical markets.
About Arclight Films
Arclight Films is one of the world’s leading international sales companies for theatrical, television and home entertainment. Arclight Films has sold over 300 motion pictures including the Best Picture Oscar® winner CRASH, and Golden Globe® Best Picture Nominee BOBBY and LORD OF WAR starring Nicolas Cage, Jared Leto and Ethan Hawke.
Arclight Films additionally encompasses subsidiary labels Darclight Films, the edgy genre-driven division of the company whose films include the worldwide horror hits WOLF CREEK, WOLF CREEK 2 and action thriller BAIT 3D (the highest grossing Australian film in the history of Chinese cinema), and Easternlight, a specialty arm showcasing Asian cinema with the largest film library of any non Asian-based indie film label. Films sold under the Easternlight banner include the worldwide blockbuster FORBIDDEN KINGDOM starring Jackie Chan and Jet Li, 14 BLADES starring Donnie Yen, and legendary auteur Chen Kaige's SACRIFICE.
The latest additions to Easternlight include SNOW GIRL AND THE DARK CRYSTAL starring Li Bingbing, WOLF WARRIOR starring Wu Jing (which opened #1 at the Chinese Box Office, earning more than $32.5M in one weekend), OUTCAST starring Nicolas Cage, SPECIAL ID starring Donnie Yen, BADGES OF FURY starring Jet Li and TRIPLE THREAT starring Scott Adkins, Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais and Michael Jai White.
Some of the latest additions to the Arclight Films’ slate include 2016 Official Cannes Directors’ Fortnight selection DOG EAT DOG starring Nicolas Cage and Willem Dafoe, directed and written by Paul Schrader, HOTEL MUMBAI starring Dev Patel and Armie Hammer, FIRST REFORMED starring Ethan Hawke and Amanda Seyfried, directed and written by Paul Schrader, THE CONFIRMATION starring Clive Owen and Maria Bello, directed by Academy Award-winner Bob Nelson (NEBRASKA), 2016 Sundance Official Selection FRANK & LOLA starring Imogen Poots and Michael Shannon, PREDESTINATION starring Ethan Hawke now in release through Sony Pictures, LAST KNIGHTS starring Clive Owen and Morgan Freeman, RECLAIM starring John Cusack, now in release through Lions Gate, PAPER PLANES starring Sam Worthington, and SHANGRI-LA SUITE starring Emily Browning and Luke Grimes to be released through a major studio and JUNGLE starring Daniel Radcliffe.
Arclight Films maintains a presence at all major motion picture and television festivals and markets with offices in Los Angeles, Sydney, Hong Kong, Beijing and Toronto. For more information on Arclight Films please visit www.arclightfilms.com
About Anonymous Content
Founded in 1999 by Managing Partner Steve Golin, Anonymous Content is a leading management and Film, TV and Commercial production company. Anonymous Content manages the careers of many of the world’s most renowned and innovative directors, writers, actors and comedians, working closely with them to achieve their goals by both creating and finding roles for them, whether in feature films, television, commercials, music videos or brand integrated content. Anonymous Content’s clients have been recognized with Academy Awards®, Emmys®, Golden Globes®, Tony Awards®, Pulitzer Prizes® and other prestigious awards. The company’s award-winning Film & TV division boasts many commercially successful and critically-acclaimed works, including Oscar Best Picture Winner SPOTLIGHT, starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, and Rachel McAdams, and Oscar Nominee for Best Picture THE REVENANT, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy. Past projects include BABEL, WINTER’S BONE, BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, and 50 FIRST DATES. The company’s TV slate includes the Golden Globe winner for Best TV Series (Drama) “Mr. Robot” (USA Network), “True Detective” (HBO), “The Knick” (Cinemax), “Berlin Station” (EPIX), “13 Reasons Why” (Netflix) and “Schitt’s Creek” (POP), as well as upcoming “The Alienist” (TNT). Through its Commercial work, Anonymous Content is also the driving creative force behind countless top brands, including Prada, Nike and Coke. For more information, visit www.anonymouscontent.com.