Magazine article Screen International

A Few Best Men

Magazine article Screen International

A Few Best Men

Article excerpt

Priscilla Queen Of The Desert director Stephan Elliott is currently shooting his latest film, a comedy about a group of English friends attending a wedding in Australia, which has already secured an impressive number of pre-sales.

Director: Stephan Elliott

Producers: Laurence Malkin, Share Stallings, Gary Hamilton, Antonia Barnard

Screenplay: Dean Craig

Plot synopsis: When Englishman David announces he is getting married to an Australian, his three best men nearly turn what should be the best day of his life into his worst.

Backers: Screen Australia, Screen NSW, Ingenious, Quickfire

Locations: Sydney and the Blue Mountains

Shooting dates: January 17-March 4, 2010

Cast: Xavier Samuel, Kris Marshall, Kevin Bishop, Olivia Newton-John, Laura Brent, Tim Draxl, Steve Le Marquand, Rebel Wilson, Jonathan Biggins.

Distributors: Tele Munchen-Corcorde (Germany), Samfilm (Iceland), Forum Film (Israel), DEA Planeta (Spain), Aqua-Pinema (Turkey), Italia Film (Middle East), Icon (Australia, New Zealand), Pyramide (France), Lucky Red (Italy), Modus Vivendi (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, ex-Yugoslavia) and Ledafilms (Latin America).

International sales: Arclight Films

Release date: A sales promo is likely to be available at Cannes.

Arclight Films is selling the wedding comedy A Few Best Men as being from the writer and producers of Death At A Funeral and the director of Priscilla Queen of the Desert. The number of pre-sales confirms it's a compelling proposition: with cameras rolling in Sydney, 17 territories have been sold.

"We knew after reading the script that this was going to be a presale title and, once Stephan came on board to direct, the buyers were very enthusiastic and willing to buy," says Mark Lindsay, president of sales and acquisitions at Arclight Films. "The writer Dean Craig is a master of comic timing and ... Stephan is known for making commercially successful comedies."

The story centres around three English guys who cause havoc at the wedding of their friend (and fellow Englishman) David who is getting married in Australia. The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance wanted only one import, says Elliott, but two were secured: the UK's Kris Marshall and Kevin Bishop, playing alongside Australians Tim Draxl and, as the groom, Xavier Samuel.

US producers Share Stallings and Laurence Malkin are the producers being spruiked by Arclight. Malkin, who divides his time between LA and Amsterdam, had originally hired Craig as his London reader until realising his real talent was writing his own scripts.

The pair first partnered on Caffeine, then Death At A Funeral, then the US version, and now A Few Best Men. All were presented to Malkin by Craig about seven years ago.

Because he did "an amazing job" on Funeral, Malkin again sought out Lindsay, who had by then moved from Kimmel Entertainment to Arclight Films. Back then, the location of the "destination wedding" was undecided; Lindsay's boss, Arclight managing director US-based, Australia-born Gary Hamilton, pushed for Australia.

A persuasive factor was the producer offset (PO), a 40 percent rebate on Australian expenditure for features that meet a "significant Australian content" test. The holistic test takes into account a range of factors and A Few Best Men already has a provisional certificate and Malkin has no doubt it will get a final upon completion. …

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