Andrew Adamson to direct Mister Pip

Oscar-nominated writer-director Andrew Adamson will direct Hugh Laurie in a filmed adaptation of Mr. Pip, the best-selling novel by New Zealand author Lloyd Jones.

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LOS ANGELES (April 13, 2011) --- Oscar-nominated writer-director Andrew Adamson, whose Chronicles of Narnia and Shrek series of films have combined for more than $4Billion in worldwide box office, is turning his attention to the tiny island of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, figuratively and literally.

LOS ANGELES (April 13, 2011) --- Oscar-nominated writer-director Andrew Adamson, whose Chronicles of Narnia and Shrek series of films have combined for more than $4Billion in worldwide box office, is turning his attention to the tiny island of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, figuratively and literally. Adamson will direct Hugh Laurie, two-time Golden Globe-winning star of the House series, in a filmed adaptation of Mr. Pip, the best-selling novel by New Zealand author Lloyd Jones that Adamson has adapted for the screen. The film, which is set in Bougainville, will be filmed in New Zealand and on location on the island, and Adamson and the producers are planning to start principal photography next month.

Olympus Pictures’ Leslie Urdang and Dean Vanech (producers/financiers of RABBIT HOLE and BEGINNERS) is joining forces with Robin Scholes’ Eyeworks New Zealand and Agio Capital to co-finance the independent feature film. The New Zealand Film Commission, NZ on Air and New Zealand Television Network TV3 are also investors in the project.

Adamson, Scholes, Urdang and Vanech will produce the film. James Dean of Agio Capital will executive produce along with Daniel Revers (Deer Path Productions), Julie Christie, Tim White and Tim Coddington.

The critically-praised novel Mr. Pip, which was shortlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize, is a story about courage and the power of the imagination. When the eccentric Mr. Watts (Laurie), the last white man left on the war-torn island of Bougainville is asked to reopen the school, he begins to read the children his favorite novel, Great Expectations. Matilda, a gifted 14-year-old student, conjures the novel’s Victorian characters and befriends Pip who helps her to endure the violence and moral uncertainty of her daily life and inspires Matilda not only to survive but to love, forgive, and celebrate the power of her own voice.

Andrew Adamson said, “I read Mr. Pip on a transatlantic flight and, by the time of landing, knew I would make this film. It's a testament to Lloyd’s wonderful novel that it has captured the hearts of Hugh, Robin, Leslie and an incredible group of like-minded collaborators.”

Hugh Laurie commented, "I am very excited by the prospect of this film. From the first words of the novel, and the first image of the screenplay, I was hooked on Mr. Pip. It's an immensely touching, unique, yet completely unsentimental story of love. It is unlike any script I have read, or any story I have ever heard. Plus I get to go to Papua New Guinea and call it work. I am a very lucky man."

"Olympus Pictures is extremely proud to be making this most distinctive feature with Andrew Adamson, Robin Scholes and Hugh Laurie,” said Olympus’ Leslie Urdang. “Mr. Pip takes us to a place that audiences have never been before to tell a story of imagination, endurance, and hope."

Adamson first optioned Lloyd Jones’ critically praised novel then joined forces with Scholes (ONCE WERE WARRIORS, RAIN) to secure financing, enlisting the help of UTA’s Independent Film Group which is also representing North American rights. Adamson and Eyeworks New Zealand co-financed the development.

Production is slated to begin in May with nearly 50% of filming to be done in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. Focus Features International (FFI) will commence sales in Cannes. The film will be distributed in New Zealand and Australia by Transmission Films and Paramount Pictures.

Project marks Adamson’s first independent feature project. Adamson wrote, directed and/or produced on the blockbuster SHREK franchise films, and he wrote, directed and produced THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN for Disney as well as the first NARNIA film, THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. He most recently served as Executive Producer on the fourth SHREK film, SHREK FOREVER AFTER, and as Producer on THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER. He is currently directing and producing an untitled 3D Cirque du Soleil Project in partnership with James Cameron

The deal was negotiated by Rena Ronson of the UTA Independent Film Group and Leslie Urdang of Olympus Pictures. UTA, who represents Adamson, packaged the film and secured financing while Scholes and Adamson brought the New Zealand funding to the table. Alison Thompson negotiated on behalf of FFI. Adamson is additionally represented by Nelson Davis Wetzstein, LLC. Laurie is represented by WME.

Written by

New Zealand Film Commission

19 Apr 2011

Interests The New Zealand Film Commission is a crown entity working to grow the New Zealand film industry.