Focus Features International (FFI) have announced that they are to handle worldwide sales on Mike Leigh’s new film about the renowned British painter J.M.W. Turner. Timothy Spall (Harry Potter, Secrets & Lies) is attached to star in the project which FFI will co-finance with BFI and Film4. Sales are scheduled to commence at the Cannes International Film Festival in May.
Making the announcement at the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival, Alison Thompson, co-president of Focus Features International added: “We’re immensely looking forward to this new venture with Mike, whose unique style and story-telling is bound to deliver a compelling and beautiful film about this ground-breaking artist.”
“Turner as a character is compelling” Leigh added, “I want to explore the man, his working life, his relationships and how he lived. But what fascinates me most is the drama that lies in the tension between this driven eccentric and the epic, timeless world he evoked in his masterpieces.”
The film will be produced by Georgina Lowe through Thin Man Films and by Xofa Productions and will be executive produced by Gail Egan, Tessa Ross from Film4 and Norman Merry of Lipsync Productions; Lizzie Francke is lead executive for the BFI. Co-producers are Michel Saint Jean of Diaphana Films and Malte Grunert of Amusement Park Films.
The production is also expected to include frequent Leigh collaborators, such as Academy Award nominated cinematographer Dick Pope (Vera Drake, Secrets & Lies, The Illusionist) and Academy Award nominated costume designer Jacqueline Durran (Anna Karenina, Pride and Prejudice, Atonement).