Cannes Diary: BBC plans 'Geordie' version of To Kill A Mocking Bird

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The Independent Culture

BBC Films, the Corporation's film-making arm, is to make a movie inspired by Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, starring Cillian Murphy. It will transfer the story's setting from the 1930s American Deep South to contemporary England's industrial northeast.

The film, Broken, is adapted from Daniel Clay's 2008 novel of the same name, itself a modern retelling of the 1960 classic. Crucially, according to the project's producer, Joe Oppenheimer, the film is not a story of racism, rather the "unravelling of a suburban community after a single act of thoughtless cruelty". Viewers will need to wait until they've seen the movie, which premieres next year, to find out exactly what that act of cruelty is, as it has changed from Clay's book. "The Boo Radley figure from the original Harper Lee book was someone to be pitied within a community; and that corresponds to a character in our project," said Mr Oppenheimer. "However the original novel is firmly there in this story's DNA."

Brighton Aussies join for new film

Brighton-based Australian director John Hillcoat, who had mixed reviews for his 2009 film The Road, is making headway with his next project. The Weinstein Company is set to acquire US distribution rights for Hillcoat'sfilm The Wettest Country, starring British heartthrob Tom Hardy opposite Shia LaBeouf and Gary Oldman, right. The film is based on US author Matt Bondurant's 2009 novel about three brothers who find their bootlegging business under threat in Prohibition-era Franklin County, Virginia. Hillcoat didn't have far to lookto find his screenwriter. That task fell to his fellow Brighton resident and family friend, musician Nick Cave.

Brad and Angelina worry about the kids

Brad Pitt stunned reporters yesterday by saying that he "beats his kids regularly and it seems to do the trick". He added: "I deprive them of meals." Thankfully the star was jokingly responding to inquiries over whether he resembles his stern father character in The Tree of Life.

"I think about everything I do now my kids are going to see when they grow up and how are they going to feel," said the actor, who has six children with his partner Angelina Jolie. "But they know me as a dad and I hope they'll just think of me as a pretty damn good actor."

His overprotective thoughts echoed Jolie's, who expressed worry at the festival that the pair's three adopted children would ask her about the plot line to her forthcoming film Kung Fu Panda 2, which involves an overweight panda, Po, discovering he is adopted. "I wondered if they would ask questions on it," she said. She needn't have worried. "They just felt much more proud that they were a little more like Po."

Fiennes' SAS tale to have stellar cast

Sir Ranulph Fiennes's controversial 1991 book The Feather Men is to be made into a film starring Clive Owen and Robert De Niro. The movie, The Killer Elite, is currently being sold to distributors in the Cannes market. Fiennes claimed his story of SAS soldiers being assassinated by an elite squad was based on true events, and said he had been targeted by the same group when he served in the SAS in the 1970s. The Ministry of Defence panned the tale as "just another example of the Special Forces' reputation being exploited for commercial gain".