EXCLUSIVE: Actor Theo James and producer Andrew D. Corkin are joining forces to produce theatrical and small-screen projects in the UK and U.S. with their new label Untapped.
“While our primary focus is genre and thriller, we are drawn to stories of conflicted humanity that force viewers to question how they would react when faced with real or existential threats,” said James. “These stories are often grounded in truth – literal or allegorical – encouraging us to confront and challenge the assumptions we make about ourselves and the world around us.”
Said Corkin: “We’re excited to solidify our partnership to tell complex, diverse stories across various mediums. Theo and I share a vision for how we want to build stories and worlds that both fit within the current marketplace and look beyond it.”
Already, James and Corkin have several film and TV projects in various stages of development, prep and post.
On the feature side, Untapped, along with Philip Herd and Cora Palfrey of Independent, will release Archive, a sci-fi movie from Gavin Rothery, for which James also stars with Vox Lux actress Stacy Martin. Set in a remote facility that works on artificial intelligence, the film follows George (James), who is developing a new AI prototype while hiding a secret ulterior motive.
Untapped has also enlisted horror writer-director Osgood “Oz” Perkins (Gretel & Hansel) to write the script for The Asset, which is based on an original concept by James. The label is aligned with Hotel Mumbai producers Jomon Thomas and Natalya Pavchinskaya, with Gavin Levinson of ROAR serving as EP. The project is financed through their development house S’YA Concept. The story follows an elite U.S. SEAL Team, working with the Iraqi Peshmerga, who capture an ISIS collaborator holding essential information only to find the horror is much closer than they imagine.
Also in development is the award-winning Los Angeles Times article by Frank Shyong, “A Dying Mother’s Plan,” a true-life account of a terminally ill Chinese mother who killed her schizophrenic son whom she believed was at risk to become a mass shooter. Untapped has commissioned Marilyn Fu (The Honor List) to write the screenplay and partnered with Mynette Louie (producer on The Tale) to produce alongside LA Times Studios.
On the TV side, James and Corkin have optioned the book Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm? inspired by the iconic true story and grisly discovery of an unknown woman’s corpse stuffed into the hollow of a wych elm tree. The series will explore an unsolved Birmingham, UK murder in two time periods – following the boys who initially made the discovery in the 1940s, and a group of teenagers from the same town in the 1990s who try to solve the murder. Los Angeles-based Platform One Media, headed by Katie O’Connell Marsh, is on board to develop, produce and oversee global sales, while writers David Wolstencroft (Spooks) and Simon Mirren (Criminal Minds) will executive produce through their Atlantic Nomad banner.
In the UK, Untapped has also cleared life rights to Sally and Michael Evans to tell a scripted version of their family’s story, which revolves around their son and brother becoming radicalized in High Wycombe, England and leaving for Kenya to join Al Shabab. The Evans’ story was already told as a documentary, My Son the Jihadi, directed by Peter Beard, which went on to win a BAFTA in 2016. Gaumont UK is developing the series with Untapped, with Peter Beard serving as an executive producer.
Corkin and James first met on Richard Gere’s The Benefactor, which the former executive produced and the latter toplined. They collaborated again on A24’s Backstabbing for Beginners in which James starred alongside Ben Kingsley and they both served as executive producers. James and Corkin reside in the UK and U.S., respectively.
Corkin is a Gotham Award-winning producer whose credits include Afterschool (Cannes 2008), Martha Marcy May Marlene (Sundance 2011, Cannes 2011, multiple Independent Spirit Award nominations), An Oversimplification of Her Beauty (Sundance 2012, Gotham Award winner), We Are What We Are (Sundance 2013, Cannes 2013), Wild Canaries (SxSW 2014), Netflix’s Mercy, and the Olivia Wilde feature A Vigilante, Andrew Renzi’s documentary They Fight and the upcoming horror pic The Beach House.
James starred in Lionsgate’s near $765M-grossing Divergent franchise. He rose to fame with his guest- starring role on Downton Abbey which led to his breakthrough role as Tobias “Four” Eaton in the Divergent pics. Behind the camera he executive produced the true story thriller Backstabbing for Beginners and the recently released Lying and Stealing with Cota Films. Last month, James wrapped production on Andrew Davies’ Sanditon (based on Jane Austen’s unfinished novel) on which James stars and serves as an executive producer.