Shooting in Hungary and Austria, the eight-hour limited series is directed by Sergio Mimica-Gezzan (Heroes, Saving Grace, Steven Spielberg’s Into the West). Mimica-Gezzan worked as Spielberg’s first assistant director on several top-grossing movies including Saving Private Ryan and Schindler’s List. He shared the DGA directorial awards for both Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan with Steven Spielberg. The Pillars of the Earth assembles a vast array of veteran executive producing talent in various functions, including Emmy® Award-winner David Rosemont (Steven Spielberg’s Into the West, Door to Door starring William H. Macy). The Pillars of the Earth is Executive Produced by Ridley Scott (American Gangster), Tony Scott (The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3), Rola Bauer (Ring of the Nibelungs), Michael Prupas (Human Trafficking), David Zucker (Numb3rs), Tim Halkin (Lost City Raiders) and Jonas Bauer (Impact), and produced by Emmy® nominated John Ryan (Hitler: The Rise of Evil, Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows).
The Pillars of the Earth stars Golden® Globe winner Ian McShane as “Waleran” (HBO’s series Deadwood, Sexy Beast), two-time Golden® Globe Award winner Donald Sutherland as “Bartholomew” (ABC’s series Dirty Sexy Money, Human Trafficking), Bafta® Award- nominated Rufus Sewell as “Tom Builder” (CBS’s series The Eleventh Hour, HBO’s Emmy® winning mini John Adams), multi award-nominee Matthew Macfadyen as “Prior Philip” (Ridley Scott’s new feature film Nottingham, Ron Howard’s Frost and Nixon), Sarah Parish as “Regan Hamleigh” (BBC’s series Mistresses, The Holiday with Kate Winslet), multi award-nominated Hayley Atwell as “Aliena” (The Duchess with Keira Knightley, Brideshead Revisited), Eddie Redmayne as “Jack” (The Other Boleyn Girl, Elizabeth The Golden Age), multi award-winner Gordon Pinsent as “the Archbishop” (Away from Her, The Listener), award-winning actress Natalia Woerner as “Ellen” (Miss Texas, Storm Tide), Anatole Taubman as “Remigius” (James Bond - Quantum of Solace, Taken with Liam Neeson). The Pillars of the Earth novel has been adapted by award-winning writer John Pielmeier (Emmy® nominated The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, Emmy® winner Hitler – The Rise of Evil), who will also play the role of “Cuthbert”, Liam Garrigan as “Alfred” (BBC’s series The Chase, ITV’s He Kills Coppers), David Oakes as “William Hamleigh” (Channel Four’s Henry VIII – Mind of a Tyrant, BBC’s Walter’s War), London stage actor Sam Claflin as “Richard”, Robert Bathurst as “Percy Hamleigh” (the new BBC series Emma, BBC’s series My Family), Goetz Otto as “Walter” (The Downfall, James Bond – Tomorrow Never Dies), Jody Halse as “Johnny Eightpence” (Sweeney Todd, The Golden Compass), David Bark Jones as “Francis” (Guy Ritchie’s Rocknrolla, The DaVinci Code). The Lead Casting Director for The Pillars of the Earth is Priscilla John. More casting news will follow.
** CREDITS NON-CONTRACTUAL **
“It’s great to celebrate this moment after so many years of pursuing the rights to this outstanding book,” says Rola Bauer, Managing Director of Tandem Communications. “The fact that we have been able to raise the production financing in these economically challenging times is testimony to the enduring strength of fictional television Event programming and brings us into Tandem’s 10th year of international co-productions. This project is a labour of passion and could not have been achieved without our international networks as well as our financial and production partners.”
“Ken Follett’s story-telling artistry presents a richness and brilliance we dream about when searching for outstanding properties for Event television,” says Ridley Scott of Scott Free. “The scope and power of the story and the richness of the characters inspires us to create a production that lives up to brilliant craft of the book.”
Michael Prupas, President and CEO of Muse Entertainment says, “Bringing Follett’s rich, epic tale to a television audience is an exhilarating challenge and Muse Entertainment is delighted to be a part of an international coproduction of this magnitude.”
“We have lined up a first-rate production team and cast,” says David Zucker, President of Scott Free Television, “Coupled with the brilliance of John Pielmeier’s extraordinary adaptation of the book, this limited series has all the makings of a classic.”
“I wrote The Pillars of the Earth 20 years ago and am very pleased to finally see my novel adapted to the screen with the strong combination of Ridley Scott and Tony Scott’s Scott Free Films and Tandem Communications,” says world-renowned author Ken Follett. “I’m confident that their creative approach to my novel will bring to life the story that spans a generation. I am delighted with writer John Pielmeier’s script as well as with the impressive cast lined up. It is timely to see this project come to the screen just when the Pillars sequel World Without End has been published.”
Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth is a sweeping thriller of good and evil, treachery and intrigue, violence and beauty. This sensuous, spirited and passionate story is set against a backdrop of war, religious strife and power struggles, which tears lives and families apart. A suspense/thriller in structure, Follett weaves two love-stories masterfully through the political turmoil of 12th century England, creating a relevant and viable world for today’s audience and for generations to come.
The official website for The Pillars of the Earth eight-hour limited series will be launched on June 22nd, 2009. For regularly updated information about the Event series, please visit www.the-pillars-of-the-earth.tv
Tandem Communications and Muse Entertainment’s broadcast and home video partners on The Pillars of the Earth are ProSiebenSat1’s German FreeTV Group, Canada’s Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, The Movie Network and Movie Central, Spain’s Sogecable, Austria’s ORF, Germany’s Universum Film Home Entertainment, Hungary’s TV2 and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment – to name a few.
In addition, the financial entities involved were gap financier FIDEC, Germany’s DZ Bank and The National Bank of Canada. Legal counsel for the project was Mathias Schwarz in Germany, Cari Davine in Canada, Randolph M. Paul in the USA and Monika Horvath in Hungary.
Shooting in Hungary and Austria until end of November with the production company, Mid Atlantic Films, headed up by Howard Ellis and Adam Goodman.
The Pillars of the Earth novel has been translated into 30 languages worldwide. In 2007, it was named Oprah Winfrey’s 60th Book Club Selection prompting the U.S. publisher to ship an additional 1.4 million copies of the novel immediately after the announcement was made; it is ranked 33rd on BBC’s 2003 ‘The Big Read’ as one of the top 100 books ever printed and was chosen 27th out of the ‘101 Books to Read Before You Die’.
Further news from all three producing partners rounds out the Pillars announcement. Tandem Communications with partners Jaffe/Braunstein Entertainment and Muse Entertainment will see their four-hour catastrophe miniseries Impact air on ABC Network June 21st and June 28th. The miniseries has already enjoyed outstanding ratings in other international territories in which it has aired.
Scott Free has announced the sixth season pickup of its hit series Num3ers as well as a pick up by CBS Network for its new pilot The Good Wife, starring Julianna Margulies.
Emmy® and Golden Globe® nominated Muse Entertainment recently announced the third season of Durham County and just completed principal photography on the high-action mini-series The Phantom for the SciFi Network.
TANDEM COMMUNICATIONS, located in Munich, Germany, was started in 1999 by Rola Bauer and Tim Halkin. In 2007 Jonas Bauer became a partner in the company. From the beginning, their strategy was to build a vertically-integrated media company whose core business is International production and worldwide distribution. From the Emmy® nominated Dune to the Emmy® nominated Dragons' World to the Golden Globe® nominated The Company to the Nora Roberts Franchise, Tandem continues to identify and develop high-quality projects in a wide range of Event programming.
Tandem produced the DIVA Award-winning Ring of the Nibelungs and recently saw its new Event movie, Lost City Raiders garner excellent ratings on the SciFi Channel in the U.S. as well as in several key international territories.
In March 2009, Tandem announced it will co-produce with veteran producer Stanley M. Brooks (Emmy® Award-winning Producer for Best Miniseries Broken Trail, Leroy Aarons' bestseller Prayers for Bobby with Sigourney Weaver) two Event movies based on a new series of novels by the worldwide bestselling author Patricia Cornwell.
Tandem continues to grow its library of Event programming with wide audience appeal. It's all about Creating Together.
MUSE ENTERTAINMENT ENTERPRISES, headed by President and CEO Michael Prupas, is a major Canadian independent film and television producer and a leading service producer for international studios and networks. Muse Entertainment is known for bringing well-crafted, high-quality, award-winning productions with strong international appeal to big and small screens. Since 1998, Muse has produced, co-produced or provided production services on 100 TV movies and mini-series, television series and feature films. Muse's head office is located in Montreal. Muse has four production operations in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Los Angeles.
SCOTT FREE FILMS, based in London and Los Angeles, was formed in 1995 and is the film and television production company of directors Ridley Scott and Tony Scott.
Scott Free Television produces the hit CBS series Numb3rs, set to enter its sixth season; a four-hour adaptation of Michael Crichton's landmark novel, The Andromeda Strain, which premiered on A&E in May 2008 and became the highest- rated original movie or miniseries on cable with the second part actually building on the first. In post-production is Churchill at War for HBO, a sequel to the Emmy® winning telefilm, The Gathering Storm.
Scott Free Films produced the box-office smash American Gangster, starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, and The Assassination of Jesse James starring Brad Pitt, Body of Lies starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Gladiator starring Russell Crowe and directed by Ridley Scott, who is now in mid-production on Nottingham, a role-reversal of the classic Robin Hood tale starring Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett and Matthew Macfadyen. Tony Scott's newest feature is The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, starring Denzel Washington and John Travolta.