The period horror thriller was originally written by Walter Newman (Ace in the Hole, Cat Ballou) in the 1960s with Oscar winner George C. Scott (Patton) set to star. The script involved “dark subject matter” and required a big budget, which ultimately prevented the film from being made.
Harrow’s Alley takes place in the 17th century during the black plague, following an English town as it deteriorates. It follows the fortunes of two men, likable but lawless rogue Ratsey, and well-meaning alderman Harry, who are both trying to survive the dangers of the time.
Thompson has apparently been working to get the script developed since the early 2000s — originally wanting the project to be a Miramax feature — and will now be able to make it a reality on the small screen after partnering with Bad Wolf. Bad Wolf is backed by HBO and UK’s Sky along with Len Blavatnik’s Access Entertainment and is in the “very early stages” of development on Harrow’s Alley.
Newman once said that Harrow’s Alley was the “high point of my professional life, a creative frenzy for nearly 12 wonderful months.” The writer, unfortunately, passed away in 1993 before seeing his project developed onto the screen but knew that somehow, one day, they were “going to get it made.”
Thompson’s writing credits include Bridget Jones’ Baby, Nanny McPhee, and HBO’s Wit, co-written with Mike Nichols. Now that she’s found a production team and a home at HBO, Newman’s 172-page script — which is even used in film classes and has been widely circulated online — might finally be viewed by audiences like he dreamed.
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