HBO to Partner with The Weinstein Company and the BBC to Present New Drama Series THE NO. 1 LADIES' DETECTIVE AGENCY, Based on the International Bestselling Novels By Alexander McCall Smith
Series Is A Mirage Enterprises And Cinechicks Production; Grammy Winner
Jill Scott Stars
NEW YORK, March 10 -- HBO will partner with The Weinstein
Company and the BBC to bring Alexander McCall Smith's international
bestselling book series THE NO. 1 LADIES' DETECTIVE AGENCY to television,
it was announced today by Richard Plepler, co-president, HBO and Michael
Lombardo, president, Programming Group and West Coast Operations, HBO.
Grammy Award winner Jill Scott ("Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?,"
"Hounddog") stars in the series, whose two-hour pilot was recently filmed
on location in Botswana under the direction of Academy Award(R) winner
Anthony Minghella ("Cold Mountain," "The English Patient") from a script by
Minghella and Academy Award(R) nominee Richard Curtis ("Four Weddings and a
Funeral," HBO's "The Girl in the Cafe"), who also executive produce. The
producers are Academy Award(R) winner Sydney Pollack ("Out of Africa") and
Timothy Bricknell ("Cold Mountain") for Mirage Enterprises, along with Amy
Moore for Cinechicks.
In addition to the two-hour film, which will serve as the pilot, HBO
has ordered 13 one-hour episodes that will begin filming this summer, with
HBO obtaining U.S. and Canadian television and home video rights, and the
BBC taking UK television distribution. The Weinstein Company, which
controls all other international territories, is planning to take the
project to market at MIP in April.
"Alexander McCall Smith's wonderful books have been a sensation around
the world for years, and we're thrilled to be teaming up with the BBC and
The Weinstein Company (TWC) to adapt these highly entertaining stories for
HBO," notes Plepler. "And needless to say, the opportunity to work with the
exceptionally gifted Anthony Minghella and Richard Curtis makes this
project all the more exciting."
Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Company, states, "The
Weinstein Company is uniquely positioned to develop and create television
programming that matches the quality viewers expect when seeing a film in a
theater, and having HBO and BBC on board will provide this initiative with
the broadest possible audience. We are very excited about this project and
so pleased to continue our decade-long collaboration with Mirage on this
Says director/co-writer/executive producer Minghella, "Filming THE NO.
1 LADIES' DETECTIVE AGENCY in Botswana was an amazing adventure. The people
were marvelous and the landscape, especially in the northern areas of the
country, is extraordinary. Particularly fascinating to me was working and
filming in an African country where old and new are currently coexisting,
where traditional values have not yet been eroded by the demands and
efficiencies and neuroses of the modern. It was a privilege to be working
on a film which celebrates what we can learn from Africa, and not what we
think we can teach it."
Adds Jane Tranter, BBC Controller, Fiction, "I am looking forward to
continuing a strong working relationship with Anthony Minghella, Richard
Curtis, Mirage and The Weinstein Company on a new series of THE NO. 1
LADIES' DETECTIVE AGENCY, and to partner with HBO on this fabulous project,
following the success of 'Rome,' 'Five Days' and 'Stuart: A Life
"THE NO. 1 LADIES' DETECTIVE AGENCY" is a poignant and passionate book
series chronicling the adventures of Precious Ramotswe, the eminently
sensible and wise proprietor of the only female-owned detective agency in
Botswana. Aided by her highly-efficient yet rather peculiar secretary Mma
Makutsi, Mma Ramotswe investigates cases, helps people solve problems in
their lives, and begins a special friendship with the highly respectable
owner of a local garage.
The dynamic and diverse cast for the television pilot includes Grammy
Award-winning singer Jill Scott as series heroine Precious Ramotswe, who
has become one of the most beloved characters in international contemporary
fiction. Anika Noni Rose ("Dreamgirls") stars as Precious' quirky secretary
Mma Makutsi, and Lucian Msamati stars as Mma Ramotswe's devoted suitor JLB
Matekoni. They are joined by David Oyelowo ("The Last King of Scotland,"
HBO's "Five Days" and "As You Like It"), Idris Elba ("28 Weeks Later,"
HBO's "The Wire"), Colin Salmon ("Die Another Day," "Match Point") and Tony
Award winner John Kani ("Final Solution," "The Ghost and the Darkness").
SOURCE The Weinstein Company