Sony hopes to produce a Hollywood movie based on BBC Television’s Doctor Who series, according to executive emails which have been posted online by WikiLeaks. Earlier this week, WikiLeaks made the Sony Pictures e-mails from last year’s North Korean hacking incident available in their entirety, thoughtfully providing a searchable database function.
An e-mail conversation in January 2014 between Andrea Wong, President of International Production for Sony, and Michael Lynton, the studio CEO, reveal that Wong spoke with BBC Television Director Danny Cohen about a possible Doctor Who feature. “He [Cohen] said that while there has been tremendous interest (and pressure from BBCWW) to do a Dr. Who film, the show runners feel very clear that they don’t want to do one at this moment,” Wong wrote. “That said, over the course of the coming months, the show running team is coming up with an 8 year timeline for the brand – laying out all that will happen with it. He says that a film will certainly be a part of that timeline. So the answer is that a film won’t happen in the next year to 18 months, but it is expected that it will happen after that within the 8 year horizon. He expects the plan to be laid out by the end of the year...”
Lynton suggested a meeting with the showrunners, with Wong responding the next day. “Spoke to Danny and he doesn’t think it makes sense right now and actually might hurt our cause,” Wong wrote. “He said that the creative team on the show have been having the movie conversation with BBC Worldwide in recent weeks and are very hot under the collar that their position on it is not being listened to or accepted....”
Missed by some reports on the topic was the follow-up conversation Lynton had with Cohen in September, in which he introduced Cohen to Tom Rothman, then Chairman of TriStar Productions. “Tom is coming to London in the next couple of weeks,” Lynton said. “I know one topic that is top of mind is Dr. Who and the possibility of making a film. The rest I leave to you.”
Cohen responded to Lynton on October 17. “Thanks for connecting me with Tom Rothman,” he wrote. “What an extraordinary man.” Rothman has now replaced Amy Pascal as chairman of Sony Pictures’ Motion Picture Group.
No other communication was included in the leaked emails. The Sony Pictures hack was discovered in November 2014, with the first release of information happening on November 24 by the North Korean hacker group “Guardians of Peace.”
Doctor Who series showrunner Steven Moffat stated in an interview published recently that the TV series will continue for at least another five years (see “Five More Years of 'Doctor Who'”).