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STATE OF PLAY

About The Production
"You cannot connect anything back to me.”

—U.S. Congressman Stephen Collins

From securing the film rights to finalizing the cast, the road to putting State of Play cameras on the streets of Washington, D.C. took as many twists and turns as a political thriller. It began with brilliant source material from writer Paul Abbott, the creator of the enormously successful and critically acclaimed 2003 miniseries that aired on the BBC. The persistence of producer Andrew Hauptman—joining with Working Title's producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner—ensured the adaptation would make it to the big screen.

The BBC broadcast its premiere episode of State of Play in May 2003. Audiences and critics alike were held rapt by the intertwining stories of Stephen Collins, Cal McAffrey and their associates in politics and journalism. Soon after the series aired, Hauptman began negotiating with agents in London for feature film rights to Abbott's work.

His tenacity led him to a meeting with Abbott at his home in Manchester. There, Hauptman convinced the writer that he would be the right man to produce a movie of Abbott's work that would be faithful to the spirit of the source material. He closed the deal to adapt State of Play in November 2004 and began the long process of working with writers to morph Abbott's complex six-hour miniseries into a feature film that would shift the action to the corridors of American power: Washington, D.C.

Reflects Hauptman on his interest in the long-gestating project: "The original series was such a rare find in source material. It was a riveting series that grabbed you and didn't let go; it resonated with me in so many ways. I always thought that by moving the setting to Washington D.C., its scope could be even more powerful and combustible, but just as intelligent.

"The opportunity to get inside the world of the newsroom and feel the drama associated with running a paper, chasing a story and the pursuit of the truth and all of its implications brought a lot of relevance to the story,” he continues. "What made the miniseries work so well was that on the surface it was about the dance between politics and journalism—the state of contemporary news media, corporate espionage and conspiracy. But then you realize it was also about individuals and their choices and was deeply personal. It tackled issues of conflict and compromise, loyalty and love, and power and career aspirations. That made it incredibly intriguing.”

Abbott was naturally keen to ensure his carefully constructed series not fall into the wrong hands for translation. "In my initial conversations with Paul, he was concerned about how we were going to turn a six-hour drama into a feature film,” says Hauptman. "We were both concerned about making a movie that lived up to the quality of the series.”

Hauptman spent the next several years developing the project before bringing it to Universal Pictures, which then brought in Working Title Films—where producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner have made a name building the most successful film production company in Britain. Offers Fellner of Working Title's desire to tackle the project: "Like everyone else, we were transfixed when we watched the miniseries several years ago.

Paul created this universe that exposed the darkest side of humanity and its worst traits of greed, corruption and unyielding ambition. Tim and I knew it would be a huge challenge to distill that much material and draw a story from the series that would be engaging…as well as one smart enough to stand alone. We felt with Andrew and Kevin at our side and the right team of writers, we could do it justice.”

Finding the correct director for the project was equall

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