Corona TV’s Richard Johns launches Argo Films, unveils John Travolta project for Disney+

Richard Johns

The Liability and Shadow Of A Vampire producer Richard Johns has launched a new production firm, which has multiple projects in the works including a show starring John Travolta.

Argo Films will produce across film and TV with established creative talent, while also attempting to uncover new talent from UK regions.

Scripted TV projects include a soon-to-be-announced “landmark drama” based on true events and a dramedy from screenwriter Daniel Hayes that follows a young woman struggling to decide which tribe she most aligns with in life.

Features in the pipeline include a show from director E. Elias Merhige, while The Shepherd has also been produced under the Argo Films destined for Disney+.

The John Travolta and Ben Radcliffe-starring show is based on the novel by Frederick Forsyth and tells the story about a pilot flying home solo for Christmas in 1957. Iain Softley (Backbeat, Hackers) wrote and directed, and Alfonso Cuarón and Bill Kenwright are co-producers.

Argo will also house the scripted assets and development projects from Corona Pictures and Corona Television, the businesses Johns established with Rupert Jermyn in 2009 that were backed by Fremantle. Shows produced included teen horror Truth Or Dare, with Johns buying Jermyn’s stake when the latter left the industry.

Johns previously launched Pilgrim Films and has been behind movies including Toni Collette-starring Like Minds and more recently Off the Rails, in addition to aforementioned titles. He has also worked on Steve Coogan and Sarah Solemani’s Channel 4 dramedy Chivalry.

Johns, who becomes CEO at Argo, said the shows on the slate so far “speak volumes about my ambition for the company and the amazing creative collaborators I am so lucky to work with every day.”

He added: “Argo is about taking risks. There’s plenty of safe stuff out there already and that’s not me: I am passionate about creating ‘filmic TV’ that breaks new ground. Argo will always be authentic, distinctive, and diverse in every sense of the word – successfully crossing conventional boundaries. I also have a soft spot for finely crafted limited series, so expect to see a number of these in future announcements.

“With Argo, I am on a mission to find and nurture new voices who can help create surprising, original content, and I’m diving deep into the regions on my quest. Rural areas, in particular, are always overlooked, and I am excited to have already identified fresh new writers with unique perspectives on my home turf in East Anglia.”


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