Channel 4 drama to be Morton’s directorial debut

Actress Samantha Morton is to make her directorial debut next year with a drama for Channel 4 about a young girl growing up in a children’s home.

Morton’s film, called The Unloved, forms part of a line-up of three major new projects unveiled by the broadcaster, including a new two-part series called Palestine from Britz writer and director Peter Kosminsky.

Morton, who has appeared in TV shows such as Longford for Channel 4 and has made a name for herself in films including Minority Report and Enduring Love, is joining forces with production company Revolution Films on The Unloved, which will begin filming later this year.

She has been working alongside writer Tony Grisoni, who penned the screenplay for the film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, to create a fictional script that provides a child’s view of the UK’s care system.

In 2006 Morton, who was herself in care until the age of 16, criticised the state of children’s homes in the UK, claiming paedophiles in prison were treated better.

Speaking about her new project, Morton said: “I am thrilled to be making my first film with Channel 4, who have constantly pushed boundaries, and enabled people like myself to have a voice. I hope this film can help make a difference to the young people that see it.”

Casting is ongoing and the drama will be transmitted in 2009.

Meanwhile, Grisoni is also working on a new drama trilogy for Channel 4 based on three of the books in David Peace’s series of novels called the Red Riding Quartet, which are set in Yorkshire in the seventies and early eighties at the time of the Ripper murders.

White Teeth director Julian Jarrold will direct 1974, James Marsh will direct 1980 and Anand Tucker, who directed Hillary and Jackie, will take the helm of 1983.

The ensemble cast will include Andrew Garfield, last seen in Channel 4′s Boy A, who will play local crime reporter Eddie Dunford, and Sean Bean, who will take the role of local property magnate John Dawson.

David Morrissey will play Detective Chief Superintendent Maurice Jobson and Mark Addy will also feature in the production.

It will film in Yorkshire this autumn for broadcast in 2009.

Finally, Kosminsky’s Palestine has been described as a drama that will cut between two time frames and stories – that of a 19-year-old girl from London called Erin, who is holidaying with a wealthy school friend in Israel, and that of her grandfather Len who, during the forties, was part of the British peace-keeping force in what was then Palestine.

A surprise discovery pushes Erin to reconnect with the past and seek out the descendants of the Arab family her grandfather sought to help.

Palestine is a product of a first look deal the broadcaster has with Kosminsky. It will be made by Daybreak Pictures and executive produced by David Aukin.

Speaking about the new projects, head of Channel 4 drama Liza Marshall said: “These three distinctive and radically different projects are very much in the spirit of what Channel 4 drama is about – the best writers and directors having the freedom to make creatively ambitious and bold work.”

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