“Anna Karenina” is just the latest achievement from top British producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, the co-chairmen of Working Title who are to receive the Producers Guild of America’s top honor, the coveted David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures. Bevan and Fellner will accept the award at the 24th Annual Producers Guild Awards ceremony on Saturday, January 26th at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.
Along with director Joe Wright, who made Oscar contenders “Pride & Prejudice” and “Atonement,” among other Working Title films, Bevan and Fellner have the best taste in the business. They chase quality fare. That’s their gig.
They have championed the likes of Stephen Daldry (“Billy Elliott” the film and musical), writer and director Richard Curtis (“Notting Hill,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Bridget Jones Diary,” “Love Actually”), Tomas Alfredson (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”), Paul and Chris Weitz (“About a Boy”), Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz”), Shekhar Kapur (“Elizabeth” and its sequel), Tim Robbins (“Dead Man Walking”), the Coen brothers (“Fargo,” ‘O Brother Where Art Thou,” “A Serious Man,” “Burn Before Reading”), Paul Greengrass (“United 93,” “Green Zone”), Ron Howard and Peter Morgan (“Frost/Nixon”) and Tom Hooper (“Les Miserables”). They also launched global franchises “Mr. Bean” and “Johnny English,” starring Rowan Atkinson, and Emma Thompson’s “Nanny McPhee.”
“Both as individuals, and as a bona fide producing team, they have made contributions to the art and craft of storytelling, which are the envy of filmmakers the world over,” said 2013 PGA Awards Chair Michael DeLuca. “Since the mid-1980s, they have produced more than 100 incredibly diverse feature film and documentary projects.”
Past recipients include Stanley Kramer, Saul Zaentz, Clint Eastwood, Billy Wilder, Brian Grazer, Jerry Bruckheimer, Roger Corman, Laura Ziskin, Kathleen Kennedy & Frank Marshall, John Lasseter, Scott Rudin and last year’s Steven Spielberg.
Founded in 1983 and co-chaired by Bevan and Fellner since 1992, Working Title, with offices in London and Beverly Hills and backed by Universal Pictures and Studio Canal, has made nearly 100 films that have grossed over $5 billion worldwide. Its films have won six Academy Awards, 30 BAFTA Awards, and prizes at the Cannes and Berlin International Film Festivals.
Bevan and Fellner have already earned the Michael Balcon Award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema at the Orange British Academy Film [BAFTA] Awards, and the Alexander Walker Film Award at the Evening Standard British Film Awards. They have also both been honored with CBEs (Commanders of the Order of the British Empire).
Still to come are Curtis’s “About Time,” starring Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson; Wright’s “The World’s End,” starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost; John Crowley’s “Closed Circuit,” starring Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall; Hossein Amini’s “Two Faces of January,” starring Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, and Oscar Isaac; Dan Mazer’s “I Give It a Year,” starring Rose Byrne and Rafe Spall; the telefilm “Mary and Martha,” directed by Phillip Noyce and written by Curtis, starring Hilary Swank and Brenda Blethyn; and Ron Howard’s “Rush,” starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl. Car racing enthusiast Fellner also produced the doc “Senna.”
My last interview with Fellner is here.