ALISON OWEN, one of the UK’s leading film and television producers, earned an Academy Award® nomination and a BAFTA Award (Best Film) in 1998 for Shekhar Kapur’s historical drama, Elizabeth, which collected a total of seven Academy Awards® and twelve BAFTA nominations. She worked closely with co-producer Debra Hayward, formerly Head of Film at Working Title Films, with whom she launched a new production outfit Monumental Pictures in late 2014. ITV Studios Global Entertainment hold a minority stake in the company’s television sector, exclusively distributing all of the company’s television content.
Monumental Television recently released Harlots, an eight-part returning series for ITV Encore and Hulu starring Samantha Morton, Lesley Manville and Jessica Brown Findlay, and created by Moira Buffini and Alison Newman. The series is set against the backdrop of 18th century Georgian London and is a powerful family drama offering a brand new take on the city’s most valuable commercial activity – sex. Another recent release is Will, a ten-part series for TNT. Penned by Craig Pearce and executive produced by Owen, Hayward, Pearce and Shekhar Kapur, the series follows the young Will Shakespeare as he makes a name for himself in Elizabethan England. Owen and Hayward are also executive producing Anne, Breaking Bad alumni Moira Walley-Beckett’s adaptation of Anne of Green Gables, an eight-part series produced by Northwood Entertainment for CBC, in association with Monumental. Netflix recently picked up streaming rights.
Most recently, Owen produced Me Before You in 2016 for MGM, directed by Thea Sharrock and starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin which made over $200 million worldwide. Due for release in 2017 is Deborah Moggach’s bestselling historical romance Tulip Fever, adapted by Tom Stoppard, directed by Justin Chadwick and starring Christoph Waltz, Alicia Vikander, Dane DeHaan and Judi Dench. Last year, Owen produced Suffragette written by Abi Morgan, directed by Sarah Gavron, with Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Brendan Gleeson and Meryl Streep starring in an ensemble piece about the Suffragette movement.
Under her previous banner, Ruby Film and Television, Owen executive produced Stephen Poliakoff’s Dancing on the Edge, an original series for the BBC and Starz, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Matthew Goode, John Goodman and Jacqueline Bisset (Golden Globe® winner for the show); and the detective show Case Histories for the BBC and Masterpiece, starring Jason Isaacs that ran for two series.
Owen also executive produced the Emmy®-winning Temple Grandin, HBO’s inspiring true-life drama starring Claire Danes, David Strathairn, Julia Ormond and Catherine O’Hara, which picked up fifteen Emmy® nominations and seven Emmy® awards, including Outstanding Made for Television Movie, Outstanding Lead Actress and Outstanding Directing; Toast, a single film for the BBC, starring Freddie Highmore and Helena Bonham Carter which premiered internationally at the Berlin Film Festival; and Small Island, a period drama made for the BBC and Masterpiece, for which she picked up an International Emmy®.
Owen executive produced Phillip Noyce’s The Giver in 2014, based on Lois Lowry’s bestseller with Jeff Bridges, Brenton Thwaites and Meryl Streep starring and in 2013 produced Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks, written by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith, directed by John Lee Hancock and starring Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson and Colin Farrell, which explored the tempestuous relationship between author PL Travers and Walt Disney during the making of Mary Poppins.
Owen previously produced the award-winning Jane Eyre, directed by Cary Fukunaga and starring Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell and Judi Dench; Stephen Frears’ Tamara Drewe (Official Selection, Cannes 2010); Sylvia, directed by Christine Jeffs and starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Daniel Craig; Proof, David Auburn’s acclaimed drama directed by John Madden, starring Paltrow, Anthony Hopkins and Jake Gyllenhaal; The Other Boleyn Girl, starring Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman and Eric Bana; and Brick Lane, directed by Sarah Gavron and starring Tannishtha Chatterjee, Satish Kaushik and Christopher Simpson.
She also executive produced Edgar Wright’s acclaimed zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead, a major critical and commercial success, and The Men Who Stare at Goats, starring George Clooney, Kevin Spacey and Ewan McGregor; Steve Barron’s Rat, starring Pete Postlethwaite; Menhaj Huda’s Is Harry on the Boat?; and Philippa Collie-Cousins’ Happy Now?.
Earlier producer credits include the Working Title Film productions of Paul Weiland’s Roseanna’s Grave, Danny Cannon’s The Young Americans, starring Harvey Keitel and Viggo Mortenson, David Anspaugh’s Moonlight and Valentino starring Whoopi Goldberg, Kathleen Turner and Paltrow, and her first feature, Peter Chelsom’s Irish comedy, Hear My Song, which earned Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations and was chosen Best Comedy Film at the 1991 UK Comedy Awards. The film earned Owen a nomination as Most Promising New Producer from the Producers Guild of America.
Alison Owen is appearing at the following sessions:
Four of TV’s heaviest hitters gather to discuss the past, present and future of British TV. What can we learn from their success and how can we partner with them in the future?