Ol Parker to direct film adaptation of Richard Osman’s novel

Ol Parker is set to direct the feature film adaptation of Richard Osman’s upcoming debut novel The Thursday Murder Club. The creator and co-presenter of British TV show Pointless is gearing up to release his debut novel on 3 September, and the film rig…

Ol Parker is set to direct the feature film adaptation of Richard Osman’s upcoming debut novel The Thursday Murder Club.

The creator and co-presenter of British TV show Pointless is gearing up to release his debut novel on 3 September, and the film rights have already been secured by Amblin Partners, following a competitive auction that attracted interest from 14 studios, according to Variety.

The Thursday Book Club tells the story of four septuagenarian friends who live in a retirement community and meet up every week to investigate unsolved killings for fun.

But when a shady property developer is found dead, the four find themselves in the middle of their first live crime.

The Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again filmmaker confirmed he had signed on to helm the adaptation by sharing the news on Twitter and adding, “This is lovely.”

The presenter also tweeted, “This is some wonderful news which I’ve had to keep under my hat for a while. I know I have a big hat, but even so.”

Commenting on Osman’s post, Parker wrote, “Let’s have some fun,” and the host jokingly replied, “I think contractually we have no choice.”

The publishing rights to Osman’s novel were purchased by publishers at Viking for a seven-figure sum following a 10-publisher auction in May 2019, with the sale being the biggest debut novel deal for a decade. The second instalment in the series is expected to follow in 2021.

Osman will serve as an executive producer on the film alongside Jennifer Todd.

Parker, who is married to Westworld actress Thandie Newton, is best known for writing The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and its sequel, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Besides the Mamma Mia! sequel, he has also directed Imagine Me & You and Now Is Good.

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Kristen Wiig, Sally Hawkins and Maggie Smith board A Boy Called Christmas

Kristen Wiig, Sally Hawkins and Maggie Smith have all signed on to star in A Boy Called Christmas.Back in 2016, executives at StudioCanal and Blueprint Pictures announced they had tapped writer/director Ol Parker to adapt Matt Haig’s acclaimed 2015 nov…

Kristen Wiig, Sally Hawkins and Maggie Smith have all signed on to star in A Boy Called Christmas.

Back in 2016, executives at StudioCanal and Blueprint Pictures announced they had tapped writer/director Ol Parker to adapt Matt Haig’s acclaimed 2015 novel, which follows an 11-year-old boy named Nikolas, nicknamed Christmas, who must travel to the North Pole in order to save his father.

Now, film bosses have unveiled the all-star cast, with Kristen Wiig, Sally Hawkins, Maggie Smith, Jim Broadbent, and Toby Jones all nabbing roles. In addition, Zoe Colletti, Michiel Huisman, Henry Lawfull, Rune Temte, and Indica Watson will appear, with Oscar-nominated filmmaker Gil Kenan to direct. It remains unclear which roles each actor will take on.

Along with StudioCanal executives, Graham Broadbent and Pete Czernin will produce, while the team at Framestore will provide visual effects.

Principal photography is now underway in Lapland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and London, though a potential release date has not yet been set.

“The origin story of Father Christmas is re-imagined in Gil Kenan’s live-action A Boy Called Christmas,” the official synopsis reads. “An ordinary young boy called Nikolas sets out on an extraordinary adventure into the snowy north in search of his father who is on a quest to discover the fabled village of the elves, Elfhelm. Taking with him a headstrong reindeer called Blitzen and a loyal pet mouse, Nikolas soon meets his destiny in this magical, comic and endearing story that proves nothing is impossible.”

StudioCanal will release the film in the U.K, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, and China, while Netflix has the rights for the rest of the world.

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