UK Film Council backs new Brit comedy


MUMBAI: How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, the film adaptation of the best-selling comic biography by journalist Toby Young, is being backed by the Aramid Entertainment Fund, the UK Film Council’s Premiere Fund and Film4 with a budget of over £13.5 million.


Shooting on the film, a project from independent British production company Number 9 Films, started this month in the UK and US with the majority taking place in London, including 3 Mills Studios.


The film is inspired by the international best-seller by Young, about his rise and fall at Vanity Fair in New York and the celebrity world surrounding that magazine. British star Simon Pegg will play Young’s character, with award-winning actors Jeff Bridges, Kirsten Dunst, Danny Huston, Gillian Anderson and rising star Megan Fox also being a part of the cast.


The driving force of the project from its inception, Number 9 Films, developed the project with Tessa Ross (Film4 had originally optioned the book), together they commissioned Peter Straughn to write the script. Subsequently, at an advanced stage, the project was introduced into slate funding, to receive support via the Number 9 slate consortium consisting of Number 9 Films, Film4, Intandem Films and the Irish Film Board and backed by the UK Film Council.


Following And When Did You Last See Your Father?, starring Colin Firth and Jim Broadbent, which will be released by Buena Vista in the UK and Sony Pictures Classics in North America, this is the consortium’s second film to go into production.


Oscar nominee Bob Weide, co-creator and director of award-winning television series Curb Your Enthusiasm will direct the film. Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen are producing for Number 9 Films.


Intandem Films arranged the financing for the film and is handling worldwide sales securing Paramount Pictures International for the UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.


Number 9 Films producer Stephen Woolley says, “Elizabeth and I are indebted to the support and trust invested in us during the initial development phase by Tessa Ross and Toby Young. The wonderful Peter Straughn script has become an asset firstly attracting Bob Weide and then the fabulous cast.”


Film4 head Tessa Ross adds, “All of us at Film4 are really excited that Toby’s hilarious book is being bought to the screen by such a great team and such a perfect cast.”


UK Film Council’s Premiere Fund head Sally Caplan says, “This is an exciting independent British film, encompassing an excellent script, and a director and cast with a strong comic vision. The project has great potential in the international marketplace, to raise the profile of both British film and of rising star Simon Pegg.”