LONDON, UK / NEW YORK, USA – July 13, 2018 – Critically acclaimed and multi-award-winning film and TV director Stephen Frears (A Very English Scandal, Philomena) is set to direct the ten-part short form comedy series ‘State of the Union’ written by the Academy Award®-nominated and BAFTA-winning writer Nick Hornby (Brooklyn, An Education) and starring Academy Award® and BAFTA-nominated Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl, Hostiles) and BAFTA-nominated Chris O’Dowd (Bridesmaids, ‘Get Shorty’), it was announced by See-Saw Films’ COO of Television, Hakan Kousetta, Head of Television, Jamie Laurenson and Jan Diedrichsen, General Manager, SundanceTV and Sundance Now. Shooting will commence in summer 2018 in London. See-Saw Films is producing the series for SundanceTV.
A series of ten by ten-minute episodes, ‘State of the Union’ follows Louise and Tom (Pike and O’Dowd) who meet in a pub immediately before their weekly marital therapy session. With each successive episode we piece together how their lives were, what drew them together and what has started to pull them apart. Hornby explores the complexities of marriage with his inimitable honesty and humour.
Hornby said, “I am so pleased to be working again with Stephen, Rosamund and Chris. I first met Stephen when he directed High Fidelity, Rosamund when she revealed her wonderful comic talent in An Education, and Chris when he made the forthcoming Juliet, Naked, and I think they will make a tremendous team. ‘State of the Union’ is an unusual project, so it’s all the more gratifying that we have managed to attract talent of this magnitude.”
Amy Jackson will produce the series for See-Saw Films with Jamie Laurenson, Hakan Kousetta, Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Nick Hornby with Stephen Frears executive producing. Kristin Jones, EVP of international programming for AMC and SundanceTV, is the executive in charge for SundanceTV.
See-Saw’s Kousetta and Laurenson commented, “The short form series has given Nick the freedom to explore a marriage in crisis which manages to be both funny and touching in equal measure. Realised by such amazing on and off-screen talent, we couldn’t be more excited to see these scripts brought to life.”
“Sundance is thrilled to partner with our good friends at See-Saw Films on this short form original production,” said Jan Diedrichsen, General Manager, SundanceTV and Sundance Now. “We are fortunate to have a dream team in front of and behind the camera to bring to life Nick’s intimate, entertaining and relatable story of a modern marriage to life.”
Stephen Frears is represented by Casarotto Ramsay & Associates, with ICM Partners in the US, Nick Hornby is represented by Casarotto Ramsay & Associates, Rosamund Pike is represented by United Agents in the UK as well as Magnolia Entertainment and CAA in the US and Chris O’Dowd is represented by Gordon and French in the UK as well as WME and 3 Arts in the US.
ABOUT SEE-SAW FILMS
Academy Award® winning producers Iain Canning and Emile Sherman founded See-Saw Films in 2008. See-Saw specializes in international Film and Television production with offices in the UK, Australia and the US. Chief Operating Officer, Hakan Kousetta, co-runs the TV division with its creative Head of TV Jamie Laurenson.
See-Saw’s television division formally started in 2012 and kicked off with the multi-award winning first season of Jane Campion’s ‘Top of the Lake’. Last year Campion returned with ‘Top of The Lake: China Girl’ starring Elisabeth Moss, Nicole Kidman and Gwendoline Christie which premiered at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for a Golden Globe.
‘The Legend of Monkey’ is See-Saw’s live action television series for Netflix, ABC Australia and TVNZ. See-Saw is currently in development on ‘The North Water’ to be written and directed by Andrew Haigh (45 Years), adapted from the novel by Ian McGuire.
See-Saw’s recent film projects include six-time Academy Award® nominated Lion, starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara; Mary Magdalene starring Academy Award® nominees Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix; John Cameron Mitchell’s How to Talk to Girls at Parties starring Elle Fanning and Nicole Kidman; and Academy Award® winner Steve McQueen’s Widows which See-Saw is producing for New Regency to be released by Twentieth Century Fox in 2018.
About Sundance TV
Since its launch in 1996, SundanceTV has remained true to founder Robert Redford’s mission to celebrate creativity and distinctive storytelling through unique voices and narratives found in the best independent films. From delivering critically acclaimed Emmy®, Golden Globe® and Peabody Award-winning television featuring some of the world’s most talented creators and performers, to showcasing some of the most compelling and iconic films across genres and generations, SundanceTV is a smart and thought-provoking entertainment destination. SundanceTV is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc.; its sister networks include AMC, IFC, BBC America and WE tv. SundanceTV is available across all platforms, including on-air, online at www.sundancetv.com, on demand and mobile.
About Sundance Now
Sundance Now is AMC Networks’ premium streaming service, offering original and exclusive dramas, comedies, and true crime series, in addition to award-winning movies from every genre, including foreign-language and documentary features – all streaming commercial-free. Built on the Sundance legacy and curated by acclaimed filmmakers and cultural icons, Sundance Now is proud to present an extensive array of entertainment for a passionate and intellectually curious audience.
NICK HORNBY BIO
Nick Hornby is an Oscar®-nominated screenwriter and award-winning author. He recently adapted Nina Stibbe’s memoir Love, Nina into a BBC1 television series, and received an Academy Award® nomination for his screenplay adaptation of Colm Tóibín’s novel Brooklyn, which was directed by John Crowley. The film starred Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent, and received three Oscar nominations in total. Nick’s previous film and television projects include his Oscar-nominated adaptation of Lynn Barber’s memoir An Education, which was directed by Lone Scherfig and starred Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike and Emma Thompson, his adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s New York Times bestselling memoir into the film Wild, which starred Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern, and his adaptation of his own memoir for the screenplay of Fever Pitch starring Colin Firth.
Nick’s best-selling books have served as a rich stream of inspiration for filmmakers: the British film of Fever Pitch was re-made by the Farrelly brothers, starring Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon; High Fidelity was directed by Stephen Frears, starring John Cusack and Jack Black; About A Boy was directed by the Weitz brothers, starring Hugh Grant, Rachel Weisz and Toni Collette; A Long Way Down was directed by Pascal Chaumeil, starring Pierce Brosnan, Aaron Paul and Toni Collette, and his young adult novel Slam was adapted into an Italian language feature directed by Andrea Molaioli. Most recently, Jesse Peretz has directed an adaptation of his novel Juliet, Naked, starring Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke, and Chris O’Dowd.
Nick’s other novels include How to be Good (2001), and Funny Girl (2014), and his non-fiction work includes Fever Pitch, 31 Songs, and The Complete Polysyllabic Spree, a collection of Nick’s book columns for US magazine The Believer, to which he continues to contribute a bi-monthly column. Among other recognition for his literature, Nick received the EM Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. In November 2010, he co-founded the children’s writing charity The Ministry of Stories, located in East London and now expanding to other UK cities.
STEPHEN FREARS BIO
Unanimously regarded as one of Britain’s finest directors, Stephen Frears has always embraced a wide variety of styles, themes and genres. He worked almost exclusively for the small screen in the first 15 years of his career, with programs such as One Fine Day by Alan Bennett and Three Men In A Boat by Tom Stoppard. Stephen’s more recent TV work includes Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight for HBO and Channel 4’s The Deal starring Michael Sheen and David Morrissey. In the mid-1980s he turned to the cinema, shooting The Hit (1984), starring Terence Stamp, John Hurt and Tim Roth. The following year he made My Beautiful Laundrette for Channel 4, which crossed over to big-screen audiences and altered the course of his career. After directing its companion piece Sammy and Rosie Get Laid and the Joe Orton biopic Prick Up Your Ears, he began working in Hollywood, with Dangerous Liaisons and The Grifters (for which he was Oscar®-nominated) among his most notable titles.
Returning closer to home, he directed The Snapper and The Van, two Irish films based on Roddy Doyle stories and, after a second spell of making American films (The Hi-Lo Country and High Fidelity), based himself largely in Britain. Frears showed his versatility with two vastly different movies – Dirty Pretty Things, a realistic account of immigrant life in London, and Mrs. Henderson Presents, a nostalgic backstage comedy-drama. For his 2006 film The Queen he was again nominated for an Oscar. His subsequent films included Cheri and Tamara Drewe. He followed these with Philomena, starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, which won one BAFTA and was nominated for three others, along with three Golden Globe and four Oscar nominations, The Program, which starred Ben Foster as seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, and Florence Foster Jenkins, starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant, which received various accolades including a Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture and an Oscar nomination for Streep. Frears followed this with Victoria & Abdul, which starred Judi Dench, who received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance. Frears most recently directed the acclaimed three-part BBC television series A Very English Scandal, which starred Hugh Grant as British MP Jeremy Thorpe, and Ben Whishaw as his lover Norman Scott.
ROSAMUND PIKE BIO
Academy Award and BAFTA nominee Rosamund Pike has earned international acclaim for both her stage and film roles. Perhaps best known for her lead role in the hugely successful Gone Girl, Rosamund has most recently been seen in Scott Cooper’s Hostiles, José Padilha’s Entebbe and Brad Anderson’s Beirut.
Hostiles see’s Rosamund play a widow, who accompanies Christian Bale’s legendary Army captain who is escorting a Cheyenne chief and family through dangerous territory. In Entebbe, Rosamund plays a German revolutionary who hijacks an aeroplane and forces it to land in Entebbe, Uganda, in an effort to free Palestinians jailed in Israel. The film is based on the hijacking of Air France 139 in 1976. Rosamund plays a CIA field agent based in 1970s Beirut in political thriller Beirut, opposite Jon Hamm.
This year, Rosamund starred in The Human Voice, an adaptation from the play by Jean Cocteau. This short film follows an unflinching portrait of a woman’s heartbreak over the course of a final telephone conversation between lovers.
Rosamund will also soon play legendary Sunday Times war reporter Marie Colvin in A Private War. The film is based on Marie Brenner’s Vanity Fair article, “Marie Colvin’s Private War” and is directed by Matthew Heineman. The film is set for release in November.
Rosamund recently wrapped filming Radioactive, playing Marie Curie. The film, explores the life of the iconic scientist. The Working Title production directed by Marjane Satrapi is based on an adaptation of Jack Thorne’s novel “Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout”.
Alongside this, Rosamund has recently completed Andrea di Stefano’s Three Seconds, a crime thriller, alongside Joel Kinnaman and Clive Owen.
In July, Rosamund will begin filming ‘State of the Union,’ a ten-part series directed by Stephen Frears and written by Nick Hornby. The comedy will see Rosamund star alongside Chris O’Dowd and will follow a story exploring the complexities of marriage with Hornby’s inimitable honesty and humour.
Rosamund’s previous work includes A United Kingdom, opposite David Oyelowo, which tells the true story of Seretse Khama, a member of the Botswanan royal family. Other recent performances include The Man with The Iron Heart, which tells the story of the Nazi officer who masterminded the “Final Solution” and who was assassinated by two resistance paratroopers in 1942.
In 2014, Rosamund starred in David Fincher’s Gone Girl, in which she played Amy Dunne, opposite Ben Affleck. Gone Girl was adapted for the screen by best-selling author, Gillian Flynn. Rosamund’s performance earned widespread critical acclaim. Vanity Fair called her portrayal “a star-makingly good performance, spellbinding in its operatic mix of tones and temperatures.” Rosamund was nominated for an Academy Award, a SAG Award and a Golden Globe Award.
Also in 2014, Rosamund starred opposite Simon Pegg and Stellen Skarsgard in Hector And The Search For Happiness. She also appeared in Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin’s part-improvised BBC comedy What We Did on Our Holiday, alongside Billy Connolly and David Tennant.
In 2010, Rosamund starred in Barney’s Version opposite Paul Giamatti. The film is a love story which poignantly captures the life of the politically incorrect, irascible and fearlessly blunt Barney Panofsky (Giamatti) and the women he has loved in his life.
Rosamund received critical acclaim for her work as Helen in Lone Scherfig’s An Education opposite Peter Sarsgaard and Carey Mulligan. Received well at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009, An Education continued to garner critical acclaim with Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA and Film Critics nominations, and a win for Best Foreign Film at the Independent Spirit Awards.
Pike’s previous film credits include A Long Way Down, Edgar Wright’s The World’s End, opposite Simon Pegg, Jack Reacher opposite Tom Cruise, and Wrath of The Titans, directed by Jonathan Liebesman. In 2010, Pike played Lisa Hopkins in the dramatic film Made in Dagenham with Sally Hawkins, Miranda Richardson and Bob Hoskins. She was later nominated for a 2011 London Critics’ Circle Award for “British Actress in a Supporting Role” for her role in the film. Other projects have included Johnny English Reborn, The Big Year, Women in Love, The Libertine, Pride and Prejudice, Fracture, Fugitive Pieces, Surrogates, Burning Palms and Die Another Day.
Aside from film, Rosamund has continued to return to theatre having starred in Gaslight, Patrick Hamilton’s Victorian thriller, at the Old Vic Theatre, The Donmar Warehouse Production of Madame De Sade in The West End, opposite Judi Dench, and The Royal Court Theatre production of Hitchcock Blonde directed by Terry Johnson. Rosamund began 2010 by playing the title role in Hedda Gabler.
CHRIS O’DOWD BIO
Chris O’Dowd has built an international reputation as a versatile film and television actor, winning awards, critical acclaim and audience popularity in equal measure. Over the past few years he’s carved out an impressive movie career; recently co-starring in two critically acclaimed Oscar® nominated films Molly’s Game, directed by Aaron Sorkin, and Loving Vincent.
In August, Chris will star in Juliet, Naked, opposite Rose Byrne and Ethan Hawke as well as the second season of the critically acclaimed series, ‘Get Shorty’ on Epix.
Chris is well known for his role in Bridesmaids for which he was nominated for a SAG Award and won the Irish Film & TV Award for ‘Best Supporting Actor – Film’. Additionally, he starred in the acclaimed, Love After Love, The Sapphires, This is 40, Friends With Kids, Dinner For Schmucks, Calvary, Gulliver’s Travels, St. Vincent, Marvel Production’s Thor: The Dark World, God Particle, and Festival for which he received a BAFTA Scotland Award for ‘Best Actor in a Scottish Film.’
Chris first came to the British public’s attention starring as Roy in Channel 4’s cult comedy series ‘The IT Crowd.’ He’s been a regular on the small screen ever since; from the critically acclaimed BBC series ‘Crimson Petal’ and ‘The White’, to HBO’s ‘Girls’ to writing, producing, directing and starring in ‘Moone Boy,’ his acclaimed semi-autobiographical sitcom which aired on Sky. The show won an International Emmy for ‘Best Comedy,’ was nominated for ‘Best New Comedy Programme’ at The British Comedy Awards and won the IFTA for ‘Best Entertainment Programme’ that same year.
In 2014, his Broadway performance as Lennie in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men opposite James Franco earned him a Tony nomination for ‘Best Performance by an Actor’ in a Leading Role; a Drama Desk Nomination for ‘Outstanding Actor in a Play and Theatre’ and a World Award for ‘Outstanding Broadway Debut Performance.’
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