Bevan and Fellner have a long-term relationship with writer Richard Curtis and actor Hugh Grant, with whom they have collaborated on their three most successful films all romantic comedies Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Bridget Jones's Diary, with Notting Hill holding the record for the highest grossing British film worldwide. Curtis also wrote the screenplay for the hit comedy, Bean, starring Rowan Atkinson and has recently completed directing his first film (from his own original screenplay) Love Actually with an ensemble cast including Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Laura Linney, Liam Neeson, Rowan Atkinson, Alan Rickman, Colin Firth and Martine McCutcheon. Hugh Grant recently starred in About a Boy, based on the celebrated book by Nick Hornby and directed by Chris and Paul Weitz.
The Coen brothers also have a long association with Working Title, having made five films with the company including the Academy-award winning Fargo, The Hudsucker Proxy, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Big Lebowski and The Man Who Wasn't There which won Joel Coen the Best Director prize at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.
In 1999, WT² was formed to produce Working Title's lower budget films. Its first film, Billy Elliot, directed by Stephen Daldry, became an international commercial and critical hit. The division, headed by Natascha Wharton, has since made Ali G Indahouse, starring Sacha Baron Cohen, which was a huge success in the UK, as well as Long Time Dead and My Little Eye. WT² is currently in post-production with The Calcium Kid starring Orlando Bloom and directed by Alex de Rakoff, and Shaun Of The Dead is in production, a romantic zombie comedy directed by Edgar Wright.
Adapting successful and original books is high on Working Title's manifesto. The film of Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary endeared audiences worldwide to Renee Zellweger in the title role. Stephen Frears transferred Nick Hornby's High Fidelity to the screen, and Chris and Paul Weitz directed About A Boy based on Hornby's best selling novel. Other notable adaptations include John Madden's Captain Corelli's Mandolin starring Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz, Tim Robbins' Dead Man Walking, starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn, and the children's classic The Borrowers.
Two years ago, Working Title opened an office in Australia (WTa) headed by Tim White. Their first film is Ned Kelly. The second, Gettin' Square, a comedy starring Timothy Spall, is currently in post-production.
Recent releases include Michael Lehmann's 40 Days & 40 Nights starring Josh Hartnett, and Daisy von Scherler Mayer's romantic comedy The Guru, starring Jimi Mistry, Heather Graham and Marisa Tomei. Currently storming the box office is comedy spy film Johnny English starring Rowan Atkinson and Natalie Imbruglia, which topped the film charts in no less than 20 countries in its opening weekend.
Forthcoming releases this year are the aforementioned Love Actually, and The Calcium Kid, as well as Thirteen, a coming of age drama starring Holly Hunter; and The Shape Of Things, Neil Labute's screen adaptation of his own play starring Rachel Weisz.
Currently filming is Working Title's biggest film to date, Thunderbirds, a live action feature film of the hit British TV series of the '60s directed by Jonathan Frakes and starring Sir Ben Kingsley, Anthony Edwards, Bill Paxton and Sophia Myles; and Wimbledon, a romantic comedy directed by Richard Loncraine to star Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany.
Tim Bevan Facts