AMC Lands Hugh Laurie, Tom Hiddleston Limited Series 'Night Manager'
The limited series based on the John le Carre book will mark a return to the mini format that kicked off the cabler's scripted efforts
Following a multiple-network bidding war, AMC has handed out a straight-to-series pickup for the John le Carre limited series, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. AMC declined comment, but sources say the cabler is looking at the project as a six- or eight-part miniseries. The drama starring Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston is being developed in partnership with the BBC, which will air the series in the U.K. Ink Factory (A Most Wanted Man) is also producing. David Farr (Hanna, Spooks) will pen the adaptation. AMC will also have partial ownership and will co-produce the series with Ink Factory and BBC One.
An espionage novel published in 1993, the story follows British ex-soldier Jonathan Pine, who works as the night auditor of a luxurious hotel.He comes across a woman called Sophie who has documents which incriminate Richard Onslow Roper, a man who works on the black market and specialises in weapons.When she is found dead, Pine goes undercover to expose Roper and avenge Sophie's death.The series' marks both Laurie and Hiddleston's return to TV following the former's lead role in House and the latter's appearance in the BBC's The Hollow Crown.Avengers star Hiddleston's forthcoming films include Hank Williams biopic I Saw the Light and Ben Wheatley's adaptation of the JG Ballard novel High-Rise.Laurie was recently cast in HBO political drama Veep for its fourth season.
Published in 1993, le Carre's Night Manager follows Jonathan Pine, a British soldier turned luxurious hotel night auditor. Pine crosses paths with a French-Arab woman named Sophie with ties to Richard Onslow Roper, an English black marketeer who specializes in weapons. The woman provides Pine with incriminating documents, which he forwards to a friend in British intelligence. After Sophie winds up dead, Pine works with intelligence operatives and goes undercover as part of a sting against Roper to avenge Sophie's death.
For Laurie, the series marks the in-demand actor's return to TV following his Emmy-nominated run on Fox's House. He's repped by WME, the U.K.'s Hamilton Hodell and Ziffren Brittenham.The show also will mark Hiddleston's largest U.S. TV role to date. The Thor and Avengers star previously featured in British black comedy Suburban Shootout, Wallander and more recently had voice roles on Robot Chicken and Family Guy. He's repped by WME, the U.K.'s Hamilton Hodell, Authentic Talent and Literary, and Peikoff Mahan.Farr is with Paradigm and the U.K.'s Curtis Brown Group.
Night Manager marks le Carre's latest TV foray, joining Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, A Perfect Spy, A Murder of Quality and more. On the film side, his adaptations include A Most Wanted Man, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Constant Gardener, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold and more.
Hugh Laurie is known for his work in the American TV series "House, M.D." in which he played the title role Gregory House. He is also an accomplished theater actor, with numerous plays under his belt.Tom Hiddleston on this other hand is known for playing Loki in the Marvel Universe films beginning with "Thor" in 2011. He is also set to star in the upcoming Guillermo del Toro gothic film "Crimson Peak" coming this October.
"The Night Manager" will be first time these two superb actors work together. BBC's Ben Stephenson talks about the upcoming mini-series. He said, "It's a fantastic coup to bring le Carré back to our screens after more than 20 years. He is quite simply one of the greatest novelists of our time, and I am sure that with AMC, Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie on board, this will be one of the BBC's most unique, ambitious and unmissable dramas".
Both Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston are excited for the upcoming project.
The Night Manager order comes as AMC has largely abandoned its unscripted fare — save for Talking Dead and Comic Book Men — as the cable network home to The Walking Dead bulks up on scripted originals. It marks a return to the miniseries format that launched AMC into scripted programming with Broken Trail, which earned 16 Emmy nominations and took home four, and opened its doors for Mad Men and Breaking Bad.
The network has already renewed The Walking Dead for a sixth season and has a companion series in the works. AMC's original programming roster also includes the second seasons of dramas Halt & Catch Fire and Turn, upcoming Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul (already renewed for a second season after it was bumped from the fall to early 2015), as well as martial arts drama Badlands, which was also picked up straight to series and eyed for late 2015 or early 2016. Western Hell on Wheels, which hasn't yet been renewed, could join that roster. Also in the works is Humans, a co-production originally developed for Xbox.
The deal also will likely make AMC a player in the increasingly competitive miniseries Emmys category, which has been dominated of late by AMC's top competitors including FX (American Horror Story) and HBO, though the latter's True Detective was submitted in the drama category.
The Hollywood Reporter
AMC Secures U.S. and Canadian Rights to Adaptation of John le Carre's "The Night Manager"Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston will star with Susanne Bier set to direct. [via press release from AMC]
AMC SECURES U.S. AND CANADIAN RIGHTS TO ADAPTATION OF JOHN LE CARRÉ'S "THE NIGHT MANAGER"
Hugh Laurie, Tom Hiddleston to Star in AMC's Co-Production with BBC One and The Ink Factory
Academy Award(R) Winner Susanne Bier Will Direct
PASADENA, CA - January 10, 2015 - BBC One, The Ink Factory and AMC today announced a co-production partnership for the television adaptation of John le Carré's novel "The Night Manager." Multiple Emmy(R) nominee Hugh Laurie ("House") and Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers, War Horse, Midnight in Paris) will star in the mini-series, which is set to begin filming in spring 2015. Susanne Bier, who won an Academy Award(R) for In a Better World, will direct.
A contemporary interpretation of le Carré's espionage drama - and the first television adaptation of a le Carré novel in more than 20 years - "The Night Manager" mini-series will bring together love, loss and revenge in a complex story of modern criminality. The eagerly anticipated series follows former British soldier Jonathan Pine (Hiddleston) as he navigates the shadowy recesses of Whitehall and Washington where an unholy alliance operates between the intelligence community and the secret arms trade. To infiltrate the inner circle of lethal arms dealer Richard Onslow Roper (Laurie), Pine must himself become a criminal.
"'The Night Manager' is truly the whole package. It's a terrific piece of source material, great producers in The Ink Factory, a phenomenal writer in David Farr, an award-winning director in Susanne Bier, and two incredibly talented actors," said Joel Stillerman, AMC's executive vice president of programming, production and digital content. "Beyond that, it represents AMC's continuing commitment to finding creative ways to work with the international community to bring the best television to our network - an initiative we have ramped up very quickly that has already resulted in multiple high-quality projects for our air. We're thrilled to be in business with the BBC and the fantastic 'Night Manager' team."
Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, said: "It's a fantastic coup to bring le Carré back to our screens after more than 20 years. He is quite simply one of the greatest novelists of our time, and I am sure that with AMC, Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie on board, this will be one of the BBC's most unique, ambitious and unmissable dramas."
Simon Cornwell of The Ink Factory said: "Working with AMC to deliver 'The Night Manager' to U.S. and Canadian audiences is a huge privilege. AMC has established itself as one of the great innovators in television in the 21st century, and alongside the BBC we believe they are the best possible partners to support this incredible project. In Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston we have the core of an extraordinary cast, in Susanne Bier a great director, and in David Farr, an exceptional writer who is bringing a brilliant contemporary take to one of le Carré's finest novels. We couldn't be more excited!"
Hugh Laurie said: "I loved 'The Night Manager' when it was published, and for more than 20 years have yearned to see it realized on screen; I am now thrilled and honored to have the frontest of front row seats. All the moving parts are finely machined - we just have to not mess it up."
Tom Hiddleston said: "I could not be more excited to join BBC One, The Ink Factory and AMC for 'The Night Manager.' Jonathan Pine is a thrilling prospect. Described by John le Carré as a 'sometime army wolfchild with a special unit' in the British forces, 'caterer, chef, itinerant hotelier, perpetual escapee from emotional entanglements, collector of other people's languages, self-exiled creature of the night and sailor without a destination,' Jonathan Pine is the most mysterious and complex kind of British hero. It's an honor and a privilege to work with such truly impeccable collaborators as Hugh Laurie and Susanne Bier in bringing this to the screen. David Farr's screenplay, adapted from le Carré's brilliant novel, is absolutely outstanding. I'm beyond thrilled and I can't wait."
Susanne Bier said: "John le Carre's 'The Night Manager' is a relentlessly exhilarating thriller with profound emotional depths. Its narrative is carried by two secretive, alluring protagonists, Roper and Pine. David Farr's elegant script perfectly orchestrates the central cat-and-mouse game between these two irresistibly flawed characters. That Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston will be playing Roper and Pine, respectively, is so thrilling to me. Their shared soulfulness, precision and sharp humor will seduce us all, both through Roper's charming yet insidious manipulations and Pine's unsettlingly enigmatic struggle to do the right thing. It is a great honor to be directing 'The Night Manager' and to be part of the collaboration between AMC, BBC1, The Ink Factory and Stephen Garrett. I could not be more excited."
Published in 1993, The Night Manager is one of le Carré's most beloved and critically acclaimed books. A fusion of spy story and tale of organized crime, the novel was a best-seller in the United States and the UK, translated into over 20 languages and selling over a million copies in North America alone.
"The Night Manager" will be produced by The Ink Factory (A Most Wanted Man) for broadcast on BBC One and AMC in 2016. Executive producers are Stephen Cornwell and Simon Cornwell for The Ink Factory, Stephen Garrett, David Farr, and Polly Hill for the BBC. The series was commissioned for BBC One by Charlotte Moore and Ben Stephenson, and Joel Stillerman, Marci Wiseman and Kristin Jones for AMC. "The Night Manager" is adapted by David Farr (Hanna, "Spooks") from John le Carré's original novel. Rob Bullock ("The Suspicions of Mr Whicher," "Chasing Shadows") will produce for The Ink Factory.
The Ink Factory, Laurie and Hiddleston are represented by WME. WME negotiated the deal with AMC. Laurie is represented by Hamilton Hodell in the UK. Hiddleston is represented by Hamilton Hodell and Ziffren Brittenham, and managed by Authentic Talent and Literary. Bier is represented by CAA, Brillstein and Lichter, Grossman.
Whether commemorating favorite films from every genre and decade, or creating acclaimed original programming, AMC brings to its audience something deeper, something richer, Something More. The network reigns as the only cable network in history ever to win the Emmy(R) Award for Outstanding Drama Series four years in a row with "Mad Men," and six of the last seven with current back-to-back honoree, "Breaking Bad." The network boasts the most-watched drama series in basic cable history and the number one show on television among adults 18-49 for the last two years with "The Walking Dead." AMC's original drama series include "Mad Men," "Breaking Bad," "The Walking Dead," "Hell on Wheels," "TURN: Washington's Spies," "Halt and Catch Fire" and the forthcoming "Breaking Bad" prequel "Better Call Saul," "Humans" and "Badlands." AMC also explores authentic worlds and discussion with original shows like "Talking Dead" and "Comic Book Men." AMC is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc. and its sister networks include IFC, SundanceTV, BBC America and WE tv. AMC is available across all platforms, including on-air, online, on demand and mobile. AMC: Something More.
About The Ink Factory
THE INK FACTORY was founded in 2010 by Stephen and Simon Cornwell. Most recently the company produced John le Carré adaptation A Most Wanted Man, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, and it is currently in post-production on Our Kind of Traitor, starring Ewan McGregor, also adapted from the le Carré novel. The company is currently developing several further projects based on works by John le Carré, and a range of material from other world-class talent, including the adaptation of Ben Fountain's novel Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, slated to be directed by Ang Lee in the Spring of 2015; Hanns and Rudolf, based on the best-selling book about the hunt for the kommandant of Auschwitz by Thomas Harding; and Message From The King, the black-list thriller by Stephen Cornwell and Oliver Butcher.
Hugh Laurie and Elizabeth Debicki round out the cast of the AMC and BBC1 co-production based on John Le Carré's novel
The Night Manager – first confirmed in January – is a contemporary interpretation of le Carré's espionage drama and is the first TV adaptation of one of his books for more than 20 years.
Following British soldier Jonathan Pine (Hiddleston), the miniseries charts his recruitment by an intelligence operative named Burr (Colman) to navigate the shadowy corners of Whitehall and Washington where "an unholy alliance operates between the intelligence community and the secret arms trade."
Pine's mission: to infiltrate the inner circle of lethal arms dealer Richard Onslow Roper (Laurie) which includes his girlfriend Jed (Debicki) and an associate named Corcoran (Hollander).
The adaptation – due in 2016 – comes over two decades after The Night Manager was first published, becoming one of the author's best-known novels.
Produced by The Ink Factory (the team behind A Most Wanted Man), the co-production between BBC1 and AMC (the US network who brought you Breaking Bad and Mad Men), will be directed by Oscar-winner Susanne Bier and begin filming this spring.
The miniseries is based on John le Carré’s novel of the same name and follows former British soldier Jonathan Pine (Hiddleston) who is recruited by an intelligence operative named Burr (Colman) to navigate the shadowy recesses of Whitehall and Washington where an unholy alliance operates between the intelligence community and the secret arms trade. To infiltrate the inner circle of lethal arms dealer Richard Onslow Roper (Laurie), which includes girlfriend Jed (Debicki) and an associate named Corcoran (Hollander), Pine must himself become a criminal.
Colman is best known stateside for her starring role in BBC America’s “Broadchurch” alongside David Tennant. Hollander co-created and starred in BBC Two’s “Rev,” currently streaming on Hulu, and also appeared in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.” Debicki was previously seen in “The Great Gatsby” and has upcoming roles in “Everest” and “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”
Academy Award-winning director Susanne Bier will helm the project, which will be produced by The Ink Factory, BBC One and AMC for broadcast in 2016. Executive producers are Stephen Cornwell and Simon Cornwell for The Ink Factory, Stephen Garrett, David Farr, and Polly Hill for the BBC. The series was commissioned for BBC One by Charlotte Moore and Ben Stephenson, and Joel Stillerman and Kristin Jones for AMC. “The Night Manager” is adapted by David Farr from le Carré’s original novel. Rob Bullock will produce for The Ink Factory.
CANNES — British actors David Harewood, Neil Morrissey, Katherine Kelly and Tobias Menzies have joined the cast of AMC and the BBC’s television adaptation of John Le Carre’s novel “The Night Manager,” which started filming last month.
They join previously announced thesps Hugh Laurie (“House”), Tom Hiddleston (“The Avengers”), Olivia Colman (“Broadchurch”), Tom Hollander (“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”) and Elizabeth Debicki (“The Great Gatsby”), and director Susanne Bier (“In a Better World”).
Harewood is best known for his role in “Homeland,” whilst Morrissey was recently featured in “Line of Duty.” Kelly starred in two seasons of British drama “Mr Selfridge,” and Menzies has made a name for himself in “The Honorable Woman” and “Game of Thrones.”
Other names to appear in the espionage drama include Adeel Akhtar (“Utopia”), Natasha Little (“Wolf Hall”), Jonathan Aris (“Sherlock”) and Hannah Steele (“Wolf Hall”).
A contemporary interpretation of Le Carre’s 1993 novel, “The Night Manager” miniseries will “bring together love, loss and revenge in a complex story of modern criminality.” The series follows former British soldier Jonathan Pine (Hiddleston) who is recruited by an intelligence operative named Burr (Colman) to navigate the shadowy recesses of Whitehall and Washington where an unholy alliance operates between the intelligence community and the secret arms trade. To infiltrate the inner circle of lethal arms dealer Richard Onslow Roper (Laurie), which includes girlfriend Jed (Debicki) and an associate named Corcoran (Hollander), Pine must himself become a criminal.
“The Night Manager” was translated into over 20 languages and sold over a million copies in North America alone.
The miniseries will be produced by The Ink Factory (“A Most Wanted Man”), BBC One and AMC for broadcast in 2016. Executive producers are Stephen Cornwell and Simon Cornwell for The Ink Factory, Stephen Garrett, David Farr, and Polly Hill for the BBC. It was adapted by David Farr (“Hanna,” “Spooks”). Rob Bullock (“The Suspicions of Mr Whicher,” “Chasing Shadows”) will produce for The Ink Factory.
Russell Tovey (Banished), Alistair Petrie (Utopia) and Douglas Hodge (The Town) are the latest to join the cast of AMC and BBC One’s adaptation of John le Carré’s novel The Night Manager. The trio join previously announced Hugh Laurie, Tom Hiddleston, Olivia Colman, Tom Hollander, and Elizabeth Debicki.
Adapted by David Farr and directed by Susanne Bier, the miniseries marks the first television adaptation of a le Carré novel in more than 20 years. It follows former British soldier Jonathan Pine (Hiddleston), who is recruited by an intelligence operative named Burr (Colman) to navigate the shadowy recesses of Whitehall and Washington, where an unholy alliance operates between the intelligence community and the secret arms trade. To infiltrate the inner circle of lethal arms dealer Richard Onslow Roper (Laurie), which includes girlfriend Jed (Debicki) and an associate named Corcoran (Hollander), Pine must himself become a criminal.
Other actors set to appear in the espionage drama include David Harewood, Katherine Kelly, Tobias Menzies and Neil Morissey.
The Night Manager will be produced by The Ink Factory, BBC One and AMC for broadcast in 2016. Executive producers are Stephen Cornwell and Simon Cornwell for The Ink Factory, Stephen Garrett, David Farr, and Polly Hill for the BBC.
Licensing pacts for a miniseries to channels in Germany, Italy and Denmark don’t usually get much attention among industry insiders in the U.S. and the U.K. But last week’s news that the “The Night Manager” had been licensed to channels in Europe and other markets drew unusual interest, not because of the program but because of the seller: IMG.
IMG arranged the international sales pacts for “Night Manager,” the high-profile BBC-AMC co-production that stars Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston in an espionage drama based on the John le Carre novel of the same name. The deals reflect an effort underway at WME-IMG to expand the company’s operations to include program sales on behalf of clients. It’s an effort to take advantage of the reach and relationships that IMG has with TV outlets around the world, after decades of handling sports rights to events such as Wimbledon. And it’s another sign of how the largest talent agencies are branching out into all manner of new businesses in an effort to diversify and grow.
IMG’s expansion into distribution of scripted programming inevitably raises questions about the potential for conflicts of interest with WME clients. Could a deal point or other opportunity arise as part of a sales process that would be more beneficial to WME-IMG than it would for the creatives behind the show?
The “Night Manager” sales spurred chatter on both sides of the pond that WME-IMG is poised to aggressively chase program sales pacts in competition with production-distribution entities that they do business with on behalf of clients. It was noted that the “Night Manager” sales announcement came a few days before WME served as a co-sponsor with BAFTA/LA, Technicolor, Pinewood Studios and others of Tuesday’s U.K./U.S. TV Summit that brought top U.S. and U.K. producers together at the London hotel in West Hollywood.
Speculation about WME-IMG’s ambition on the TV distribution front is overstated, according to WME TV chief Rick Rosen. Arranging program sales for projects on behalf of clients where possible is a goal but there is no intent to significantly ramp up IMG as a third-party distributor of TV programs, he said. “The Night Manager” sales came about because WME not only packaged the project but arranged the financing for London-based producer Ink Factory. That gave Ink Factory the leverage with BBC and AMC to retain some international rights (AMC grabbed the project for its portfolio of international channels) and North American home entertainment rights, which IMG set up with Sony Pictures Entertainment. “Night Manager” is set to premiere next year on BBC and AMC.
Rosen likens the arrangement to the way talent agencies for years have helped clients set up financing and distribution for independent films. The explosive growth of the worldwide TV market has opened up myriad options for financing and distributing TV programs. The agency has also handled direct sales of books to publishers in foreign territories on behalf of clients for years. With “Night Manager,” the agency will be compensated through a sales fee in the same way indie film deals have been long been structured.
Chris Rice of WME’s global finance and distribution team has of late been focusing on television ventures on behalf of WME-IMG clients. Rosen emphasized that IMG handling “Night Manager” was beneficial to all clients involved because the sales fee was lower than the distribution fees that would have likely been charged by BBC, AMC or a third-party company.
“Now that the television business is in this explosive period, film financiers and others are looking at the TV business in other ways,” Rosen said. “This presents a lot of opportunities for our clients to be empowered in new ways.”
Expanding WME-IMG beyond representation into content and distribution is a goal for the agency since its 2014 merger with IMG, as co-CEO Ari Emanuel has articulated. TV presents clear opportunities because of IMG’s existing sports-focused infrastructure with more than 100 offices around the world.
“We have people who are talking to the heads of networks about Wimbledon, about the U.S. Open. Now we have something else to talk to them about,” Rosen said. “This is an outgrowth of our reach through IMG.”
But even with that size and the formidable roster of creative talent on the WME side, significant distribution opportunities for IMG will probably be limited just as they are for other independent players. The major U.S. media congloms rarely part with international rights as they are crucial to the profitability of programs. But when clients bring leverage to the table, with star power or independent financing, the prospect of IMG handling distribution will be a benefit, not a conflict. Rosen said.
“The television world is changing. It’s not 1990 any more,” Rosen said. “You can’t sit stagnant and not look for ways to grow. And we’re always looking for new ways to service our clients.”
With the Oscars still some way off, Australia has got off to a fashionably early start on Hollywood's awards season.
Three prominent Australians working in film – the actress Elizabeth Debicki, cinematographer Dion Beebe and producer Bruna Papandrea – were honoured at a star-studded gala in Los Angeles.
American film producer Bill Mechanic, who has a long history of producing films in Australia and with Australians, was also honoured.
The annual Australians in Film Awards gala is intended to celebrate the achievements of Australians working in Hollywood, and also to recognise the contribution of Americans to the Australian film industry.
Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki, whose credits include The Great Gatsby and The Man from U.N.C.L.E, was honoured with the Breakthrough Award.
"Elizabeth has catapulted onto the world screen with standout performances over the past couple of years," Australians in Film's president Simonne Overend said.
Previous recipients of the Breakthrough Award include Margot Robbie, Mia Wasikowska and Chris Hemsworth.
Brisbane-born cinematographer Dion Beebe was the recipient of the International Award, recognising an extraordinary body of work including Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha and Edge of Tomorrow.
"I am very honoured to have my work recognised in this way," Beebe said. "When you do something you love and get the opportunity to work with such talented filmmakers, it always comes as a surprise when you are awarded for that work. I am surprised and extremely excited."
Carrie Bickmore was in LA to host the event.
A second International Award was given to former Fox studio chief and now independent film producer Bill Mechanic. During his tenure as CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment, Mechanic worked on a slate of blockbusters, including Castaway, Titanic, Independence Day and Braveheart.
Mechanic is currently in Australia filming Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge; it is the third consecutive project Mechanic has filmed in Australia.
Mechanic's award was presented by Gibson in a pre-taped segment filmed in location in Australia.
"It all started as a film student falling in love with a great period of Australian films," Mechanic said. "I knew I could get the artistry and the creative sensibility I was after with Australian crews and artists."
The major award of the night, the Orry-Kelly International Award, was presented to producer Bruna Papandrea, whose credits include the Oscar-winning film Milk, Wild and Gone Girl.
Previous recipients of the Orry-Kelly award include director Baz Luhrmann, film executive Greg Coote and filmmaking collective, Blue Tongue Films. The award is named after Orry-Kelly, a Kiama-born costume designer who moved to Hollywood in the 1930s and went on to win three Oscars (for An American in Paris, Cole Porter's Les Girls and Some Like It Hot) and earn a nomination for a fourth (Gypsy).
Kelly worked for Warner Bros, Universal, RKO, 20th Century Fox and MGM.
Papandrea's meteoric career rise, including a HBO television series and a deal with ABC Studios, made her an ideal candidate for the award, Australians in Film's chairman Tracey Vieira said.
"Bruna has always been a very vocal supporter of Australia and of Australians in the industry," Vieira said.
The event was held at the Hotel InterContinental in Los Angeles; it was hosted by The Project host and TV Week Gold Logie award-winner Carrie Bickmore.
The four key awards awards were sponsored by Foxtel, Fox Studios Australia, Ausfilm and Virgin Australia; the award presenters included actress Reese Witherspoon, actor Mel Gibson, Hollywood director Michael Bay, Harry Potter and The Man from U.N.C.L.E producer Lionel Wigram and Australian actress Isla Fisher.
Among the guests were British actor Hugh Laurie, Wolf Creek director Greg McLean, director John Polson, comedian Josh Thomas, director Morgan O'Neill and Australian actors Jonathan LaPaglia, Peta Sergeant, Radha Mitchell, Damon Herriman, Matt Passmore, Brett Tucker, Grant Bowler and Gus Murray.