October 28, 2014

BBC Worldwide North America Acquires Award-Winning Director John Boorman’s Final Film Queen and Country

Starring Callum Turner, Caleb Landry Jones, David Thewlis and Vanessa Kirby

New York, NY – BBC Worldwide North America announced today the acquisition of Queen and Country, the latest film by five-time Academy Award® nominated director and writer John Boorman (Hope and Glory, Excaliber, The General, Deliverance), securing all rights in North America. The film, which Boorman has announced will be his last, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2014 and was acquired after making its North American debut during Film Comment’s special screening at the 52nd New York Film Festival earlier this month. Queen and Country is one of the elite selections for the MoMa Contender 2014, a special screening series to be held in New York during the month of November.

Queen and County introduces Callum Turner (Ripper Street, Borgias) to the big screen and also stars one of Variety’s  “Top 10 Actors to Watch” Caleb Landry Jones (X-Men: First Class), David Thewlis (War Horse, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) and Vanessa Kirby (About Time).  Featuring cinematography from Seamus Deasy (Neverland, When the Sky Falls) and set design by Academy Award® nominee Anthony Pratt (The Phantom of the Opera, The Man with the Iron Mask), the film is a follow-up to Boorman’s semi-autobiographical Academy Award® nominated film Hope and Glory.

“John Boorman is an iconic director and writer who has continued to deliver incredible films to the big screen including the unforgettable Academy Award® nominated Deliverance and Hope and Glory. It is an honor to bring his final film, Queen and Country, to North America,” states Soumya Sriraman, EVP Film, Home Entertainment and Licensing for BBC Worldwide North America. “This film is an excellent addition to our release slate and solidifies our commitment to bringing some of the best British drama to the big screen.”

“I am very pleased that the ace team at BBC Worldwide North America will be taking Queen and Country to the U.S. audience. Hope and Glory was based on my childhood memories of the London Blitz in World War Two,” states John Boorman, Director of Queen and Country. “This one draws on my experience at 18 of conscription in the army where I trained young lads to fight in the Korean War.    The military was both brutal and comic.  I discovered that falling in love with the wrong girl could inflict more pain than the army. It is also about how the war fractured my family and the struggle to put it back together again.”

“This is a very special film by a truly great filmmaker. It is a story of two young army conscripts, who become friends, who fall in love with quite different young women but who also fall foul of military authority. It all happens in the context of a rapidly changing British society. John combines the drama, the romance and the comedy of the story brilliantly,” states Kieran Corrigan, Producer of Queen and Country. “The fact that the story also recounts in part his personal experience makes the movie all the more special. I am delighted that the highly successful distribution team at BBC Worldwide will be bringing this film to North American audiences. They are an extremely appropriate distributor, not least because John himself started his career with the BBC.”

The film is set in the early 1950s and details the bittersweet rites of passage of the earlier film’s protagonist Bill (Callum Turner). Bill, whose character portrays Boorman, is called up for National Service in the British Army. Instead of being shipped off to Korea, Bill lands a desk job as a typing instructor for a military-regulation-fixated Sergeant Major (David Thewlis) who makes life miserable for Bill and his two office mates. Running parallel to this seemingly light service comedy is Bill’s romantic pursuit of an alluring but emotionally troubled Oxford student (Tamsin Egerton) who’s out of his league. This re-creation of postwar England is infused with nostalgia and a gentle sense of loss and, despite intimations of a country on the cusp of a new era, remains fully aware of the criticisms of the country’s class system.

The deal was negotiated between BBC Worldwide North America and Le Pacte distributor on behalf of Merlin Films.