One Year After A24 Shook Up The UK Biz With A Splashy Double Hire, How Are Rose Garnett & Piers Wenger Shaping The Studio’s International Production Arm?

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Twelve months ago, the UK industry drew a sharp intake of breath when Euphoria and Moonlight outfit A24 lured Piers Wenger and Rose Garnett to launch the studio’s London-based production division.

The splashy double hire of the BBC’s Director of Drama and Film, respectively, was seen by many as a major coup for A24 and a significant loss for the UK’s leading broadcaster.

Wenger and Garnett had spent the previous decade playing an influential role in making the UK a creative powerhouse, greenlighting significant productions and blooding future stars while at the BBC and Channel 4. I May Destroy You, Normal People, The Souvenir, The Favourite, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri were all commissioned or developed on their watch. Steve McQueen and Michaela Coel are among the duo’s high-profile admirers.

But despite the initial UK shakeup and A24’s subsequent Oscar glory with Everything Everywhere All At Once, there has been little fanfare since then surrounding the studio’s London team, leading to the inevitable question: almost 12 months into the job, how is it going?

Adjustment & Approach

As with their U.S. counterparts, A24’s London execs aren’t available for on the record interviews. The company’s oft-noted press shyness suits Garnett and Wenger. Neither enjoys the spotlight. We canvassed their collaborators and industry insiders to get a sense of the progress made in their first 12 months.

When figureheads leave a UK broadcaster there is a misguided expectation from some that fireworks should follow soon after. It was the same when Tessa Ross left Film4 after many years. Ross, Garnett and Wenger assumed almost totemic roles in the landscape as the editorial gatekeepers of the UK industry’s primary sources of public funding (along with the BFI). But when a commissioner is suddenly transported to the other side of the buyer/seller fence, there is inevitably a period of adjustment both for the executive and the industry. In this instance, the hires weren’t followed by M&A, spending splurges or press profiles about major ambitions. Things have been measured.

The groundwork for A24’s international expansion was laid prior to the double hire with the studio’s Head of TV and long-time Partner Ravi Nandan speaking to multiple buyers and prospective co-producers early last year.

“Ravi had been knocking on doors and chatting,” says one industry exec. “He made clear that the ambition was to do more scripted out of the UK.”

Shows like Euphoria and movies including Moonlight, Midsommar and Hereditary had played well in the UK, but A24 was still a quintessentially American brand best known for sexy marketing campaigns that were at quite a remove from much of the fare that has traditionally been greenlit in the UK.

Could that famed A24 DNA – edgy, cool and young — be bottled and produced across the Atlantic? And how soon? Or would we see a new flavour of A24?

“The bar for everything and everyone has been raised [since they joined],” enthuses one producer. “They have matured the market.”

“We feel what works for them in the U.S. should work internationally,” a local agent posits. “The reaction my actors have when they see the word A24 is unprecedented.”

Some industry figures, however, have sounded notes of caution.

“It takes time,” an exec adds, noting that BBC hit Normal People – a drama that Wenger shepherded while at the broadcaster – took five years to build.

‘Normal People’: Sally Rooney adaptation took five years to build


“Everyone was desperate to work with [Piers and Rose] in their previous roles but now they have to sell themselves a bit more,” a film financing exec suggests. “A24 international isn’t a ‘thing’ like A24 U.S. is.”

That patient approach seemingly suits the low-key duo just fine.

“They aren’t in a rush,” one exec close to the pair tells us. The word “organic” comes up multiple times when we speak to people. “It’s a purposeful process,” we’re told, but unlike their previous jobs, without the same pipeline pressure.

On joining, A24 announced that Garnett and Wenger would work closely with the creative community in the UK and beyond, helming “inclusive and wide-ranging collaborations with producers, directors and writers – new and established – to make forward-thinking, talent-focused work”.

There is a level of flexibility in what the duo can offer, with the ability to work as a studio, to deficit finance, and to help roll out projects internationally (with the help of A24’s foreign sales team).

We hear from collaborators that their approach is “old-fashioned editorial IP development and talent meetings – that’s their day and night job”.

There has been speculation that they must have been given a big pot of money with which to compete and stake their claim. We’re told that’s not the case.


A handful of projects have been announced to date, but intriguingly, only on the TV side.

First among the in-house productions was the TV version of Yomi Adegoke’s The List. Deadline revealed the early-stage HBO Max/BBC commission in January and the book from Slay in Your Lane scribe Adegoke – who is penning the TV version – is one of the most hotly anticipated British debuts of the year. It follows a young couple who seem to have it all but one morning wake up to the same message: “Oh my god, have you seen The List?”.

Yomi Adegoke

Yomi Adegoke. Image: Mollana Burke

Mollana Burke

Multiple sources tell Deadline the project speaks to everything A24 is trying to do in the international space and will be marketed as such when the time comes. Competition for the rights was fierce and we understand several well-known British indies were bidding for the lucrative option.

“Piers was very, very keen to make it happen,” says one source familiar with The List’s bidding process. “I think he felt it would be an immediate greenlight.”

In-house productions also include buzzy novel adaptations Shuggie Bain and Young Mungo (Garnett and Wenger are both producing), while co-productions include BBC Three series Dreaming Whilst Black and BBC One’s The Gallows Pole on which A24 joined with Big Deal Films and Element Pictures, respectively.

The pilot for Dreaming Whilst Black was nominated for an International Emmy Award and comes from up-and-comer Adjani Salmon, who initially created it as a web series. The Gallows Pole, meanwhile, is a big-budget period piece from This is England scribe Shane Meadows, in which the protagonist assembles a gang of weavers and land-workers to embark upon a revolutionary criminal enterprise that will become the biggest fraud in British history. The latter show is launching imminently.

The Gallows Pole. Image: BBC/Element Pictures (GP) Limited/Objective Feedback LLC/Dean Rogers

Team & Growth

The team remains lean, comprising fewer than half a dozen staff who work from a Fitzrovia office (the staff will be moving to a new location later this year) and home.

Deadline can reveal additions have included former BBC Studios SVP Co-Production and Sales, Salim Mukaddam, who is aboard to sell A24’s UK and U.S. TV slate (Mukaddam was at MIP for the studio); and former BBC drama commissioner and Bloodlands exec Tom Lazenby, one of Wenger’s former lieutenants, who has joined the development team.

While we understand Wenger and Garnett aren’t spending much time on M&A, there may be interest from above in further international growth. In March, the head of the VC firm that invested several hundred million dollars in A24 a year ago (valuing the company at $2.5BN), told us the indie producer-distributor’s “extraordinary” momentum could lead to a larger international business and potential company acquisitions.

We’ve heard the company has explored adding a presence in Asia, but this would be a move steered out of the U.S. rather than by Garnett and Wenger. The only other A24 production exec currently outside the U.S. is Nathan Reinhart in Berlin, but he was aboard before the London office opened.

Raised eyebrows

It hasn’t all been plain sailing. Inevitably, taking two centerpieces away from the BBC, the UK’s most contested and consistent content creator, ruffled some feathers.

On Shuggie Bain, for example, eyebrows were raised by some producers who claimed that Wenger had been developing the project at the BBC and was then quickly commissioned by the same broadcaster once he joined A24.

“There was some ill feeling,” says one exec. “There is a depressing sense of inevitability when execs move from a big drama commissioning job to production and stuff like this happens.”

Another said it felt like Shuggie Bain had “been moved to the front of the queue.”

It has certainly been noted by the industry just how many of the duo’s announced projects are with the BBC. No greenlights have been announced so far with the likes of Netflix, Prime Video or Sky. But we hear there are projects in the works with streamers and other broadcasters. And it’s also true that A24 already had a handful of film and TV projects it was partnering with the BBC on prior to Garnett and Wenger’s arrival.

Contrasting styles

While both Wenger and Garnett are now kept away from the press limelight, sources highlight their contrasting styles: Wenger being more understated (but ironically more press friendly) and Garnett billed as more outwardly charismatic and no-nonsense (but more enigmatic with media).

One producer who has worked closely with him outlines Wenger’s approach to creative meetings.

“He will sit quietly for ages and then just drop this stream of consciousness,” says the producer. “It’s really cool to watch. He’s not a loud personality so when he drops something we’re like ‘Woah, where did that come from’.”

Wenger has attracted admiration from big names including Michaela Coel, who has spoken glowingly about the way in which he ceded creative control on I May Destroy You, following her high-profile Netflix fallout.

One exec who has worked with Wenger in the past predicts close relationships with the likes of Coel will bear fruit and Wenger will be looking to collaborate again with up-and-coming auteurs such as Nicôle Lecky, whose BBC Three breakout Mood was championed by him during his BBC tenure.

Freed from the shackles of day-to-day TV commissioning, the “tension between what he really liked doing and the BBC’s wide-ranging remit” is now in Wenger’s past, considers the exec.

“Piers is less excited by the likes of Line of Duty and Call the Midwife,” she adds. “What really floats his boat is Shuggie Bain and I May Destroy You, and he’s built up a lot of good talent relationships over the years in this space.”

Sidney Flanigan and Talia Ryder in 'Never Rarely Sometimes Always'

Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Focus Features

Garnett, meanwhile, who counts The Power of the Dog and Triangle of Sadness as high-profile recent EP credits, was respected at the BBC for shaking up the team and outlook. BBC Films was long known for its relatively staid — but often commercially successful — output, but Garnett championed movies including US-UK abortion drama Never Rarely Sometimes Always and Remi Weekes’ genre debut His House, both of which formed part of larger BBC contingents at Sundance. The championing of fresh voices did mean there were fewer middle-of-the-road box office hits, however.

Garnett helped bridge the film-TV divide by connecting the likes of Lenny Abrahamson – with whom she had previously worked on Oscar nominee Room – with the creators of smash BBC/Hulu hit Normal People, and she nurtured a core all-female team, which is now led by her once second-in-command, Eva Yates.

A feather in Garnett’s cap is her past experience as a producer. At A24, on the right project, she will produce TV as well as film. A former colleague believes her tendency to “enter the trenches” on projects during her BBC tenure is standing her in good stead now that she’s operating on the other side of the fence. She also has powerful creative allies. Steve McQueen once told The Guardian about Garnett: “I wouldn’t bother talking about her if she wasn’t so fantastic.”

While Wenger and Garnett had to speak to the press and engage more broadly with the industry during their time at the BBC, it’s clear that after a year into their A24 jobs — and in keeping with the company’s purposeful mystique — they’re now happy to let the content do the talking.

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