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Andrew Garfield to Play Richard Branson In Director David Leitch’s Limited Series ‘Hot Air’

Andrew Garfield has signed on to portray British entrepreneur Richard Branson in the upcoming limited television series, Hot Air. Once production on the project begins, the actor will collaborate with Deadpool 2 helmer David Leitch, who will direct the biographical show for Universal International Studios, Deadline is reporting.

The news of Garfield’s casting as Branson in Hot Air comes after he received his first Emmy Award nomination on Tuesday. He was nominated for his portrayal of Detective Jeb Pyre on another limited series, FX’s true crime drama, Under the Banner of Heaven.

Jon Croker, who’s known in part for contributing to the script of Paddington 2, wrote Hot Air’s six episodes. The show is based on award-winning investigative journalist Martyn Gregory’s 2000 book, Dirty Tricks. Like the book, the upcoming limited series will chronicle Branson’s career as a successful business, including the rise of one of his companies, Virgin Airways.

Branson launched British airline Virgin Atlantic in 1984 with one leased airplane. By 1990, the company began to threaten British Airways’ dominance in the UK after it increased the number of flights it operated out of London Heathrow Airport.

In response, British Airways began having its staffers use passenger records and impersonate Virgin employees to gain inside information about its new competitor. British Airways also tried to persuade Virgin customers to switch companies.

Branson was eventually informed about what was happening at British Airways from one of the company’s insiders. So he filed a complained with the European Commission about his competitor’s actions.

In response, British Airways launched Operation Barbara, which included planting fabricated negative media stories about Virgin Atlantic. The billionaire businessman then sued the other airline.

The high-profile case was eventually settled out of court. British Airways offered an apology to Branson, and also paid Virgin’s legal costs plus damages. He then continued to grow the airline, which is just one of dozens of business in his portfolio.

Croker and Garfield are executive producing Hot Air with 87North’s Leitch, Kelly McCormick and Dan Seligmann, as well as UK-based Two&Two’s Babak Anvari and Lucan Toh. StoryFirst’s Michael Grade, Peter Gerwe, and Ivan Dunleavy are also producing the show. Multiple major platforms are being considered to air the biographical project.

Besides being cast in Hot Air, Garfield also made headlines this week for being one of a select few actors who were nominated for both an Emmy and Oscar in the same year. He was nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award this past March, for his portrayal of playwright Jonathan Larson in the biographical musical drama, tick, tick… BOOM!

Last year, the actor also reprised his role of Spider-Man in the latest installment of the superhero franchise, Spider-Man: No Way Home. The Tony Award-winner also starred in The Eyes of Tammy Faye, which earned Jessica Chastain the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in the titular role.

Besides helming Deadpool 2, Leitch is also known for producing and co-helming John Wick. He also directed  Atomic Blonde and Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw. He most recently helmed and produced the upcoming action comedy, Bullet Train, which stars Brad Pitt.

Check out more of Karen Benardello’s articles.

Karen Benardello
Karen Benardellohttps://cinemadailyus.com
As a life-long fan of films and television shows, and an endless passion for writing, Karen Benardello decided to combine the two for a career. She graduated from New York's LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic in 2008. Karen has since been working in the press in New York City, including interviewing film and television casts and crews, writing movie and television news articles and reviewing films and televisions series. Some of her highlights include attending such local events as the Tribeca Film Festival, the New York Film Festival and New York Comic-Con, as well as traveling across North America to attend such festivals as the Sundance Film Festival, SXSW and the Toronto International Film Festival. She has been a member of the Women Film Critics Circle since 2012, and the New York Film Critics Online since 2019.


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