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Check out Bill Nighy in the first image from Living, a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru

Photo credit: Ross Ferguson

Principal photography has commenced in the UK on Oliver Hermanus’s latest feature Living, produced by Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen under their Number 9 Films banner.

Joining the cast are and SAG Award® and Tony winner Alex Sharp (The Trial of the Chicago Seven, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) and BIFA nominee Tom Burke (Mank, The Souvenir), who will be working alongside BAFTA and Golden Globe winner Bill Nighy and BAFTA Award winner Aimee Lou Wood.

A first look image (above) from the film featuring Bill Nighy has been released today.

Set in London 1952, Living follows Williams (Nighy), a veteran civil servant buried in paperwork as the city rebuilds after WWII. A life-threatening medical diagnosis sends him to the coast with a briefcase of bills and emptied savings account, vowing to make his final days meaningful, only to realize he doesn’t know how. After an enigmatic stranger (Burke) takes him out on the town, Williams becomes intrigued by a young co-worker (Wood) who seems to possess the vitality that has previously evaded him. With the help of an optimistic new colleague (Sharp), Williams turns his efforts to bringing happiness to his community in a surprising way.

Nobel Prize-winner Kazuo Ishiguro (Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go, Klara and the Sun) adapts from the 1952 Japanese classic Ikiru with Ko Kurosawa of Kurosawa Productions executive producing and Toho – who distributed the original – buying the rights for Japan.

County Hall Arts, represented by Ian Prior and Kenzo Okamato, have come on board as executive producers and are providing the main backdrop of the film.

The film has been developed with support from Film4 and Ingenious, with financing from Film4, County Hall Arts and Lipsync. Film4 retain UK free TV broadcast rights.

Rocket Science are handling international sales, including UK distribution rights to Lionsgate, and Australian distribution rights to Transmission.

Speaking about the project, Prior says, “County Hall Arts’ raison d’être is the support of bold artists with vision and humanity whose timeless work transcends cultural boundaries. Kazuo Ishiguro is such an artist and his reinvention of Kurosawa’s masterpiece Ikiru, transplanted to post-war London, is such a work. Living’s tale of self-reflection, selflessness and hope speaks to the core values of County Hall Arts. Some 70 years on from the release of Ikiru, we hope the immensely gifted cast and brilliant filmmaking team Number 9 Films have assembled will deliver a film which will be talked about for generations to come.”

Producers Stephen Woolley & Elizabeth Karlsen commented: “Adding Tom and Alex to our already distinguished cast is a great bonus for us all. They are both amazing actors and so perfectly right for the characters of Peter and Sutherland, two very crucial roles in our story. In addition, in County Hall Arts, we have partners who are as passionate and committed to telling the story of Living as we are as filmmakers. They are more than just financing partners, they appreciate the original spirit that sparked Kurosawa’s Ikiru and formed the basis of Ishiguro’s brilliant adaptation.”

The project has attracted a stellar set of HoD’s including Oscar-winning costume designer Sandy Powell (The Irishman, The Favourite), cinematographer Jamie Ramsay (Mothering Sunday, Unt. Murder Mystery), make-up designer Nadia Stacey (Cruella, The Favourite), BAFTA-winning production designer Helen Scott (Small Axe, Mothering Sunday) and editor Chris Wyatt (Ammonite, God’s Own Country).

Number 9 Films is currently in post-production on Mothering Sunday directed by Eva Husson, starring Odessa Young, Josh O’Connor, Colin Firth, Olivia Colman, and Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù which has been officially selected for the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.

Sharp is represented by Julian Belfrage Associates, CAA, and Elin Flack Management.

Burke is represented by B-Side Management and Management 360.

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