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Gollancz To Publish Expanded Edition Of Behind The Sofa For Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary

From SFX (UK)/ by Dave Golder

Gollancz will be publishing an expanded version of the charity book Behind The Sofa: Celebrity Memories Of Doctor Who, edited by Steve Berry, in time for the 50th Anniversary of the show.

Behind The Sofa is a collection of over 100 celebrity memories of Doctor Who, compiled in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK. Steve Berry decided to undertake this project in memory of his mother Janet, who suffered from Alzheimer’s in her final years and passed away in 2009. The book took more than four years to put together and its initial publication was “crowd-funded” by the pre-orders of an enthusiastic Whovian community.

Steve spent years interviewing celebrities, including many household names, and others who have more direct Doctor Who links, and asked them one simple question: what is your favourite memory of Doctor Who? The resulting collection is by turns touching, heart-warming, funny and educational. You can read our review of it here.

After successfully self-publishing the project, and raising approximately £20,000 for the charity, Steve considered producing an expanded paperback. However, when he realised that Gollancz editor Marcus Gipps had ordered the book, he got in touch and suggested an expanded new special edition in time for the Time Lord’s 50th Anniversary, to be published by the world’s biggest and best SF imprint: Gollancz.

The original edition contained a host of famous names, including Jonathan Ross, Chris Tarrant, Al Murray, Stephen Merchant, and Bill Oddie; actors Lynda Bellingham, Nicholas Parsons, Hugh Bonneville and Rhys Thomas; writers Neil Gaiman, Jenny Colgan, Jonathan Ross and Charlie Brooker and political figures Louise Mensch and Tom Harris, plus many more. In addition, there was input from a number of the writers, actors and production staff who were involved in creating Doctor Who stories new and old.

The new Gollancz edition will be expanded and include more new celebrities, including Gollancz author and Doctor Who writer Ben Aaronovitch, Alexei Sayle, Bernard Cribbins and Sophia Myles as well as new illustrations from Doctor Who Magazine mainstay Ben Morris, who designed the previous edition.

Steve will once again be donating 100% of his royalties from the book to Alzheimer’s Research UK, which is also one of Orion Publishing’s Charities of the Year for 2013.

Marcus Gipps said, “When I first started reading the book, I was hugely impressed at the range of people that Steve had contacted. But what was more impressive was how different all of their first memories of Doctor Who were, and how fondly it was remembered. The connection with Steve’s chosen charity is poignant but important, and we’re delighted to have this opportunity to raise more money for a much needed charity, while also giving a wider audience the chance to appreciate this wonderful book/collection”

Steve Berry said: “Gollancz is the perfect home for this new, improved and expanded edition of Behind The Sofa. When I conceived the book, I wanted it to fulfil two purposes; firstly, to raise a TARDIS-load of cash for scientific research into the dementia that affected my mum; and secondly, to show just how vibrantly Doctor Who can live on in the memories of those who experience it. Just as the Doctor’s various incarnations have proved increasingly popular with viewers over the years, I hope that the newly regenerated edition of this book will go from strength to strength.”

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Spotlight on International Projects: Blackwood

From Screen Daily (US) / By Maria Sell

Adam Wimpenny, a Screen International Star of Tomorrow, has just wrapped his directorial debut feature, Blackwood. Screen’s Maria Sell visited the set of the supernatural thriller in Surrey.

The film shot for six weeks mainly on location near Guildford as well as in a studio in London and stars Ed Stoppard (Nanny McPhee Returns, The Pianist) and Sophia Myles (Hallam Foe, Tristan + Isolde) as a couple who move to a large country house, Blackwood, with their eight-year-old son (Isaac Andrews). The husband starts to have visions of a masked boy and is determined to investigate a mysterious disappearance that may involve a war veteran, played by Russell Tovey (Him & Her).

The thriller is not only Wimpenny’s directorial debut but also the first feature-length film to come out of Wildcard Films, established in 2009 by Wimpenny, producer Adam Morane-Griffiths and writer Joe Hill.

One of Wildcard’s other projects, conspiracy thriller The Mandrake Experiment (which is scheduled to go into production this summer), was slated to shoot before Blackwood – both were developed concurrently – but when financing fell apart two weeks into prep, the team decided to fast-track Blackwood instead.

The feature is financed entirely through private equity investments, which were channelled through an EIS, with some of the partners initially attached to Mandrake. But as producer Morane-Griffiths says they were happy to come on board for Blackwood as “they are backing the filmmakers”.

This change to Wildcard’s schedule could certainly work to their advantage considering that supernatural and horror films have fared well in the last 18 months as international successes, such as The Woman in Black and horror film Mama. “There’s also a track record in the UK of making supernatural thrillers and it suited our skillset,” says Morane-Griffiths.

He asked business partner and writer Joe Hill to pitch an idea, which they developed over the next 3 ½ years. Hill says: “I had an idea for a reversal within the story for a while, a little bit like Roar [Wildcard’s well-received short film, directed by Wimpenny and starring Russell Tovey and Jodie Whittaker] with the twist. I always wanted to do that particular twist and when he [Morane-Griffiths] asked about a ghost story, I thought actually that’s kind of a perfect fit.”


While Hill admits that he was keen to “write something that’s very much character based and not all about the concept”, inspiration for Blackwood also originated in horror films like Don’t Look Now and The Shining and other staples of the genre from the 1970s and 80s. Hill acknowledges that the thriller also has a Gothic feel to it, but credits Wimpenny as well as production designer Michael Howells (Nanny McPhee, Emma) with making the film “not look too staged, still feeling real”.

Wimpenny reiterates and confesses to re-watching The Shining prior to the Blackwood shoot but deliberately stayed away from some of the most recent “teen/urban youth type” horror films as he is “more interested in the suspense aspects, so it’s more about the tension and the mood rather than being about the gore”. Consequently it’s not an effects based film and everything is done with the camera bar a few “little tricks”, reveals Wimpenny.

Thus, there was a conscious choice to shoot the thriller on the Red Epic (the camera that was also used by Peter Jackson to shoot The Hobbit) with anamorphic lenses from the 1970s that give a softer look and more classic quality. The wide frame of anamorphic lenses also allowed Wimpenny to “place performers hard left or hard right of the frame or out on location to hold the shot for a little longer. He continues, “I find the wider you go with the camera the spookier you can make it when you see dark recesses in the house. It‘s about inviting the audience to look into the corners of the frame, it’s about what you don’t see as much as what you do see in the frame.”


In terms of the casting Morane-Griffiths admits that “when Joe [Hill] was doing a first draft of the screenplay I sent him a photograph of Ed [Stoppard] […] so it’s been subconsciously him. I think Ed’s been in the screenplay all the way through. Because when you see him playing it, he’s perfect.” Morane-Griffiths and Hill also previously worked with Stoppard on the play The Leisure Society (Trafalgar Studios, 2012). Russell Tovey starred in Wimpenny’s short film Roar,and Sophia Myles came onboard through United.

They all agree that the production has been terrific, aside from the snow disruption in late January, which slightly prolonged the shoot and also meant re-shooting some material.

After shooting her final scene Myles reflects that she was attracted to the role because it differs from the usual fare as “most of the times in films, women are in a story to be the object of sexual desire or a love interest and very little else in general”. For Stoppard the quality of the script drew him to the project, saying that “most actors want to tell good stories, so if it’s good on the page […] then you’ve got a good chance of producing something worthwhile on screen”.

Blackwood is now in post-production with delivery expected for later this year.

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Colombia in the sights of Hollywood

From Caras Magazine (Colombia)

[N.B this is a translation so some sentences may have been altered slightly during the process]

CARAS had access to the best kept secret of the cinema in Colombia. Peter Facinelli,of the Twilight Saga, and the actresses Sophia Myles and Nathalia Ramos topped the list of stars that moved to the country for a month to shoot the thriller Gallows Hill. They spoke and posed exclusively for the magazine.

Peter Facinelli does not speak Spanish, but learned to say a word during his stay in Colombia: ‘Ajiaco’, a meal called for all the nights in his hotel. The actor who plays the doctor Cullen in the popular Twilight Saga confessed that he had always wanted to act in a horror film, however, had not found an intelligent script until he read the story of Gallows Hill; and immediately wanted to participate in the project. But there was another ingredient that was called even more attention and was shooting in Colombia. “I had heard wonderful things about the country and wanted to see it with my own eyes”.

The film was directed by the Spanish Victor Garcia, who has been involved in films such as Talk to Her and the blockbuster movie Hellboy. He has several horror films under his belt, and returns to this genre with Gallows Hill. The thriller tells the story of David Reynolds (Peter Facinelli), an American widower to a colombian wife, who flies to Bogota accompanied by Lauren (Sophia Myles), his new partner, with the aim of recovering his rebellious daughter Jill (Nathalia Ramos). After surviving a car accident, the three are stranded in an isolated inn where they discover a girl in the basement; the decision of releasing them entails unintended consequences.

“I love the films of suspense, not only to see them but to act on them”, confessed Sophia Myles. The 32 year-old British actress, is a veteran in the thriller genre; in 1999 she played the wife of Johnny Depp in the film From Hell and has participated in two of the Underworld films next to Kate Beckinsale, where she was transformed into a ruthless vampire.

For her part, the actress Nathalia Ramos, born in Spain and raised in the United States, she saw on the film the opportunity to make a character who speaks two languages, English and Spanish. The young woman of twenty years laughs when he remembers the horrible things and frightening by the step that your character, which she seemed to be rather fun: “When I arrived on set they said to me: ‘ Today you’re going to pull cockroaches’ and i responded: ‘I do not have already done so before, it doesn’t bother me that, on the other hand, the cold seems to me to be a worse torture,” said the protagonist of the supernatural series House of Anubis of Nickelodeon, in which she learned to make terrifying scenes,which included act with millions of insects

The genre of the film required a high degree of precision to achieve credibility and realism not only with the makeup of bloody wounds but with action sequences . “I have scenes of battle with one of the characters – says Ramos – . There is a double but i am excited about doing those things. By danger i can’t make some, but tried to do what I can, the action sequences are like a great choreography where everything has to be planned perfectly”.

The Spanish actress revealed that in several of its scenes she was at the hand, literally, with Myles, who plays the girlfriend of his dad. “I got so wrapped up in the character that the paste very strong to Sophia and gave me so much penalty after the jack until I asked forgiveness”.

The production team of the film which had in its majority with Colombian talent, filmed in the municipality of Sesquilé, Cundinamarca ,where he endured long hours a cold inclement weather but the affection of Colombian fans remained excited to actors, despite the low temperature. “My daughter’s birthday was yesterday,” said Peter, who has two more with Jenny Garth, from the series Beverly Hills 90210, “and some fans brought a cake and gifts to the set and sang happy birthday to her; I asked to video them and send it to her.

But that was not all. Facinelli confesses that he had never seen followers more incredible that the Colombians. “One day,during the shoot, I wrote on Twitter that I wanted to eat pizza, and suddenly several fans came to the set with pizza from Papa John’s and others that made me one”. In spite of the hard days of work, the actors found time to do some sightseeing in the capital, including visiting the restaurant Andrés Carne De Res and taste the Colombian gastronomy. “The food here is impressive and the variety of fruits that they have is enviable”, said Nathalia, who became addicted guanabana juice. “I am already at the point where i don’t know how live without it. I looked on the internet where I can buy it cold in Los Angeles where I live”.

Sophia, for her part, declared herself in love with the country and decided to extend her stay after completing the shooting. “I make use of the free days to know more; I went to the Catedral de Sal de Zipaquirá, which I thought was amazing, and I don’t want to go without a visit to the city of Cartagena”.

The film, which will be released in 2013, generates a high expectation from now, not only by the fans who want to see more, but for being one of the first Hollywood films being rolled in its entirety in Colombia, with national talent of international invoice. “The team has been great, we have become a family, I will miss them,” says Peter, but not before concluding: “We worked very hard on this film, I hope that you enjoy much as we did making it”.

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Peter Facinelli, Sophia Myles & Nathalia Ramos Climb Gallows Hill For Director Victor Garcia

From Arrow In The Head (US) / By Jake Dee

Victor Garcia, master of the unnecessary horror sequel (MIRRORS 2, RETURN TO THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL), has just lined up a new, original horror project called GALLOWS HILL. The supernatural thriller – which is set to star Peter Facinelli, Sophia Myles (seen right) and Nathalia Ramos (below) – is being produced by Andrea Chung, David Higgins of Launchpad Production (who co-hatched the story), and Peter Block of A Bigger Boat.

Scripted by David D’Ovidio (THIR13EEN GHOSTS), the story follows an American (Facinelli),widowed from his Colombian-born wife, who flies to Bogota with his new fiancée (Myles) to retrieve his rebellious teenage daughter Jill (Ramos). After a car accident leaves them stranded in a rundown isolated inn, they discover the old innkeeper has locked a young girl in the basement and their decision to set her free has unintended consequences.

Isolated inns? Old Innkeepers? Bitches locked in a basement? Good enough for me.

With shooting in Bogota, Colombia slated for later this month – the native cast includes Carolina Guerra and Diego Cadavid.

Until we hear more, how do you like the setup and people involved?

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‘Twilight’s’ Peter Facinelli to Star in ‘Gallows Hill’ (Exclusive)

From Hollywood Reporter (US) / By Borys Kit

Victor Garcia, who helmed “Return to House on Haunted Hill,” is in the director’s chair for the horror film, which also will star Sophia Myles and Nathalia Ramos.

The Twilight Saga’s Peter Facinelli will star in Gallows Hill, a supernatural horror movie to be directed by Victor Garcia.

Sophia Myles (Underworld) and Nathalia Ramos (Nickelodeon’s House of Anubis) are also in the movie, which is being produced by David Higgins of Launchpad Productions, Peter Block of A Bigger Boat and Andrea Chung.

Written by Richard D’Ovidio (Thirteen Ghosts), the story follows an American (Facinelli), widowed from his Colombia-born wife, who flies to Bogota with his new fiancée (Myles) to retrieve his rebellious teenage daughter Jill (Ramos). After a car accident leaves them stranded in a rundown isolated inn, they discover the old innkeeper has locked a young girl in the basement and their decision to set her free has unintended consequences. D’Ovidio and Higgins wrote the story.

Shooting is due to being this month in Bogota, the capital of Colombia.
Mauricio Ardila and Julian Giraldo of E-NNOVVA Films are exec producing, and 
Octane, IM Global’s genre arm, is handling international sales.

The South American castmembers include Carolina Guerra of A Corazon Abierto, the Latin American adaptation of Grey’s Anatomy, and Colombian star Diego Cadavid.

Garcia has toiled mostly in the franchise horror world, helming such titles as Return to House on Haunted Hill, Mirrors 2 and Hellraiser: Revelations. This will be the first original outing for the director, who is repped by New Wave Entertainment and attorney Jeremy Tenser.

Facinelli is best known for playing Dr. Carlisle Cullen in the Twilight movies and also stars on Showtime’s Nurse Jackie. He is repped by APA and Untitled Entertainment.

Myles is repped by Gersh and United Agents, Ramos by Coast to Coast Talent.