STARZ And BBC Co-Produce The New Original Limited Drama Series "The Missing" From Writers Harry And Jack Williams JAMES NESBITT, FRANCES O'CONNOR AND TCHEKY KARYO CAST IN LEAD ROLES

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., March 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- STARZ, in partnership with the BBC, will produce and air the original limited drama series "The Missing."  Filming has begun on the eight-episode run in Brussels, Belgium.  Written by Harry and Jack Williams (Honest) and directed by Tom Shankland ("Ripper Street"), "The Missing" will be produced by New Pictures and Company Pictures in association with Two Brothers Pictures and Playground.  It will air on BBC One in the UK and STARZ in the U.S. in fall of 2014.  all3media international has funded development of THE MISSING and retains all US rights not obtained by Starz.    

"The Missing" follows Tony, played by James Nesbitt (The Hobbit trilogy, Jekyll), as a man devastated by the abduction of his young son, Oliver, during a family vacation in France.  He becomes a man obsessed, unable to accept that his child may be dead and spends years searching for him.  Tony's exhaustive search fractures his marriage to Emily, played by Frances O' Connor ("Mr. Selfridge," A.I.: Artificial Intelligence) and threatens to destroy his life.  Tcheky Karyo (Goldeneye, The Patriot) plays Julien, the French police detective who launched the initial search for the child.  Even though he is retired in present day, he too cannot shake the small belief that the child may still be alive.  Told using a fascinating narrative puzzle, "The Missing" explores the impact of a child's abduction, the emotional cost of obsession, hope and finding when to let go.  This gripping thriller is told simultaneously over multiple time frames and set in France and London. 

Nesbitt,O'Connor and Karyo are joined by an international cast including; Jason Flemyng (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) plays Mark, the British police officer who travels to France to help in the search and comfort the devastated young parents.  Also joining the cast are Ken Stott (The Hobbit trilogy, Rebus); Arsher Ali (Four Lions, The Guilty); Said Taghmaoui; Emile Dequenne; Anamaria Marinca; Eric Godon; Anastasia Hille and Johan Leysen .

Carmi Zlotnik, Managing Director of Starz, said, "'The Missing' is a powerful and poignant story about a father's determination to find his missing child, and that is something any viewer can understand.  The Williams' scripts gripped us on every page, and we are glad to be working in partnership again with the BBC, Charlie Pattinson and Colin Callender on this very special project."    

Charlie Pattinson, Executive Producer for New Pictures, said "Harry and Jack Williams have created a wonderfully complex and mature emotional thriller, and I am delighted that New Pictures' first series highlights their work. It's great that two writers who are new to long form drama have attracted such an exciting, high caliber cast."

John Yorke, Managing Director, Company Pictures, said "It's rare to find a new take on the detective drama, so it's a real pleasure to be involved with a project that both embraces the genre while finding incredibly exciting new ways to play with it. Great writing and a fantastic cast add up to something very special."

Polly Hill, BBC Head of Independent Drama, said, "We are pleased to announce such an exciting cast, that brings together the best of British and French actors, led by James Nesbitt, Frances O'Connor and Tcheky Karyo, in this powerful new drama for BBC1."

Louise Pedersen, Managing Director, all3media international, said, "We are delighted to be representing New Pictures first venture, as well as building on our long-standing relationship with Company Pictures, for global rights on this prestigious commission. We are thrilled that we can build on our relationship with Starz, with their success and expertise in launching drama to American audiences, in this major co-production that features strong talent both on and behind the screen. We will be launching the show officially at MIPCOM and we are confident of other major presales in the near future."

The executive producers are Charlie Pattinson, Willow Grylls and Elaine Pyke for New Pictures, John Yorke for Company Pictures (part of the all3media group), Harry and Jack Williams for Two Brothers Pictures, Polly Hill for the BBC, Colin Callender for Playground and Eurydice Gysel for Czar TV.  Producer is Chris Clough. It was commissioned by Controller BBC One, Charlotte Moore and Ben Stephenson, Controller BBC Drama Commissioning. "The Missing" is co-produced with Fortis Film Fund, Czar TV Productions and VRT and is filmed with the support of the Belgium federal government's Tax Shelter scheme. all3media international has funded development of THE MISSING and is handling global rights including USA secondary.

About Starz
Starz (NASDAQ: STRZA, STRZB) is a leading integrated global media and entertainment company with operating units that provide premium subscription video programming on domestic U.S. pay television channels (Starz Networks), global content distribution (Starz Distribution) and animated television and movie production (Starz Animation), www.starz.com.

Starz Networks is a leading provider of premium subscription video programming through the flagship STARZ® and ENCORE® pay TV networks which showcase premium original programming and movies to U.S. multichannel video distributors, including cable operators, satellite television providers, and telecommunications companies.  As of December 31, 2013, STARZ and ENCORE serve a combined 57.1 million subscribers, including 22.2 million at STARZ, and 34.9 million at ENCORE, making them the largest pair of premium flagship channels in the U.S.  STARZ® and ENCORE®, along with Starz Networks' third network MOVIEPLEX®, air more than 1,000 movies monthly across 17 linear networks, complemented by On Demand and authenticated online offerings through STARZ PLAY, ENCORE PLAY, and MOVIEPLEX PLAY.  Starz Distribution develops, produces and acquires entertainment content, distributing it to consumers globally on DVD, digital formats and traditional television.  Starz Distribution's home video, digital media and worldwide distribution business units distribute original programming content produced by Starz, as well as entertainment content for itself and third parties.  Starz Animation produces animated TV and movie content for studios, networks, distributors and audiences worldwide.

New Pictures
Established in April 2013 by Charlie Pattinson New Pictures already has two greenlit shows: Eden for BBC One and Indian Summers – a ten hour period series set in India for Channel 4. The senior management team includes Elaine Pyke and Willow Grylls and Tommy Bulfin is script editor for the company.

Charlie Pattinson launched Company Pictures in 1998 with George Faber and grew it into one of the UK's largest and most awarded Independent Production Companies.

New Pictures has a first look distribution deal with All3Media International.

Two Brothers Pictures
A new independent company established in late 2012 by Harry and Jack Williams, joined by their Development Producer Sarah Hammond. They recently produced C4's animated sit-com six part series 'Full English', animated by Rough Draft Studios (Futurama, The Simpsons Movie). Last year they made 'The Guardians' as a pilot for C4 and are currently shooting 'Fried', a comedy pilot for the BBC. They are increasingly moving into drama as well as comedy, with a number of original drama commissions already on the slate. They currently have a first look deal with 4DVD.

Playground
Playground, a New York based film, television and theater company, was founded by award winning producer Colin Callender in 2012 committed to producing quality drama for the stage and screen bringing together the finest US and UK talent from the worlds of theatre, film and television.

Since its inception Playground has produced 36 hours of primetime television in the UK and US including Dracula (NBC/Sky), and The White Queen (Starz/BBC) and Dancing on the Edge (BBC/Starz) garnering 6 Golden Globes® including a win for Jacqueline Bisset in the Best Supporting Actress category. Playground is currently in production with two new series – the eight part thriller The Missing (Starz/BBC) and the six hour mini-series Wolf Hall (BBC / Masterpiece Theater) based on Hilary Mantel's best-seller starring Mark Rylance.

On stage Playground recently produced Nora Ephron's record-breaking Broadway hit Lucky Guy starring Tom Hanks and directed by George C. Wolfe garnering six Tony® Award nominations and two wins.  Upcoming productions include Casa Valentina the new play from four-time Tony® Award winner Harvey Fierstein to be directed by Tony® Award winner Joe Mantello opening at MTC's Friedman Theater in April 2014. And in June this year Kenneth Branagh makes his much anticipated New York stage debut in the U.S. premiere of his thrilling new adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth at The Park Avenue Armory, following its acclaimed sold-out run in the UK.

In addition, Playground is in development on a rich slate of film, television and theater projects that draw on the company's deep relations in the NY, London and LA creative communities including Ken Lonergan's television adaptation E.M.Foster's Howards End and Chris Hampton's series adaptation of Dangerous Liaisons both for the BBC.  Recently, Playground also announced an agreement with author J.K.Rowling, alongside London stage producer Sonia Friedman, to produce an original stage play based on Harry Potter.

Company Pictures
Company Pictures is one of the UK's largest independent film and television drama production companies. Established in 1998 by Charlie Pattinson and George Faber, television production highlights include Elizabeth I (winner of three Golden Globes), all nine series' of Shameless (Channel 4: BAFTA and RTS awards), seven series' of Wild at Heart, six series' of Skins (E4/Channel 4), seven George Gently films (BBC 1), Generation Kill written by the creators of The Wire (HBO), The Devils Whore (Channel 4: 3 RTS and 2 Broadcasting Press Guild Awards), an adaptation of Martina Cole's best-selling novel The Take starring Tom Hardy and Brian Cox (Sky 1: Best Multi-channel Programme, Broadcast Awards 2009), The Silence (BBC1: AMI Award for Best Television Drama, 2 IFTA Awards and a Crime Thriller Award), The Shadow Line starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Christopher Ecclestone and Rafe Spall (BBC1); The Village starring John Simm and Maxine Peake (BBC1); Philippa Gregory's The White Queen (BBC1) and the upcoming Wolf Hall starring Mark Rylance, directed by Peter Kosminski (BBC2).

In spring 2013 George Faber and Charlie Pattinson left Company and were replaced by John Yorke as managing director.

In the past Company Pictures has produced The Lakes by Jimmy McGovern, A Young Person's Guide to Being a Rockstar (RTS award Best Serial) for Channel 4 and Warner Bros, North Square (Channel 4: winner Best Series Press Guild),  Not Only But Always... (Channel 4: BAFTA winner: Rhys Ifans Best Actor), The Rotters' Club (BBC), and Life and Death of Peter Sellers (HBO: winner of two Golden Globe Awards for Best TV Movie and Best Actor for Geoffrey Rush and 15 Emmies). Company has also made five feature films with some of the UK's leading directing talent including films by Roger Michell, Stephen Hopkins, Penny Woolcock, Shane Meadows and Lynne Ramsey. Amongst its numerous awards Company Pictures won Best Independent Production Company at the 2005 and 2008 Broadcast Awards and the European Producers of the Year Award at the 2004 Monte Carlo Awards.

Since October 2004 Company Pictures has been a part of the All3 Media group.

CZAR TV
CZAR TV is the fiction department of Brussels based production company CZAR BE. CZAR BE was founded in 2000 by Koen Mortier and CZAR NL, the Dutch head office. It represents a range of very successful directors and soon became one of the most creative production companies on the Belgian advertising market, generating many awards including twenty Lions at the prestigious advertising festival in Cannes. CZAR BE also produced the acclaimed commercial TNT Push to add drama, directed by Koen Mortier, that won 9 Cannes Lions that year. Together with their Dutch, German and French partners they continuously keep working on their international reputation. In 2010 Eurydice Gysel became executive producer of the company and conjointly leads the department of CZAR TV. She produced the feature films Ex Drummer and May 22nd, both directed by Koen Mortier. In addition she produced the short films A Gentle Creature, Rivers Return and Perfect Drug, of which the latter is currently partaking in competitions at numerous renowned international film festivals.Together with Graniet Film (NL) and Angel Films (DE), Eurydice produced Borgman, the new feature film by Alex van Warmerdam, that premiered in the Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival. Additionally she co-produced Supernova by Tamar van den Dop that will have its international première at the GENERATION in the Berlinale 2014 and L'étrange couleur des larmes de ton corps by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, selected in official competition of the International Film Festivals of Ghent, Locarno and Toronto. Her latest project Waste Land by Pieter van Hees, starring Jérémie Renier, is currently in post-production and set to be released spring 2014.

The BBC series The White Queen, a historic drama, is the first CZAR TV production and was aired during Spring 2013. Recent project in development that are supported by the Flanders Audiovisual Fund is Coureur by Kenneth Mercken. That took part in the prestigious Binger and Torino Film Labs.

PRESS CONTACTS:

For Starz

Theano Apostolou

Dorothea Macmanus

Theano@starz.com 

Dorothea.macmanus@starz.com

424-204-4052

424-204-4135



For Company Pictures

Jeni Ayling – jeni@ianjohnsonpublicity.co.uk / +44207836 3030 / +447825 293232

Ian Johnson – ian@ianjohnsonpublicity.co.uk

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SOURCE Starz



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