August 29, 2014

BBC Worldwide North America Acquires World War I Drama Private Peaceful

Starring Jack O’Connell and Featuring Richard Griffiths’ Final Performance

New York, NYBBC Worldwide North America announced today that they have acquired all rights in the U.S. and Canada to Private Peaceful, the World War I drama based on the bestselling novel by Michael Morpurgo (War Horse). Directed by Pat O’Connor (Sweet November), the film stars an all-British cast including Jack O’Connell (Starred Up, Unbroken), George MacKay (How I Live Now), and the incomparable Richard Griffiths (the Harry Potter films, The History Boys) in his final performance. The film will have a national release in theaters fall 2014.

“On the heels of our World War I commemorative screening campaign in August, we are continuing to bring captivating films with exceptional storytelling from across the pond to the big screen,” states Soumya Sriraman, EVP Home Entertainment and Licensing. “I am certain that Private Peaceful is the next film that will continue to build conversation around this very important time in history,”

Guy de Beaujeu, producer for Fluidity Films says: “Private Peaceful is Michael Morpurgo’s brilliant follow up to War Horse. It’s a beautifully realized tale that shines a light on the horrors of the First World War in this Centenary year.”

Simon Reade, screenwriter and producer adds: “It shows British period filmmaking at its very best with standout performances from two of Britain’s brightest stars Jack O’Connell & George Mackay. We are delighted to be working with BBC Worldwide to bring this unforgettable and moving tale to North American audiences.”

Private Peaceful begins in rural England in 1908 and ends in the First World War trenches of Europe. It is the story of the unbreakable bond between two brothers, Tommo Peaceful (MacKay) and his older sibling Charlie (O’Connell), from the death their father to their work for the Colonel (Griffiths) on his country estate and their love for the same girl, Molly Monks (Alexandra Roach, The Iron Lady). Though Charlie wins Molly’s hand, war offers the heartbroken Tommo an escape. Although underage he enlists, leaving behind his family and the pregnant Molly.  But he is soon joined by Charlie, whose bond with his younger brother is overriding. On the battlefield they learn how to survive gas attacks and shelling; but the real battles are the price of family loyalty, the cruel attentions of Sergeant Hanley (John Lynch, Sliding Doors) and the onslaught of summary military justice.

The deal was negotiated between BBC Worldwide North America and Goldcrest, distributor on behalf of Fluidity Films.