Sony Pictures Classics announced today that they have acquired all North American, Latin American and Eastern European rights to Mike Leigh's upcoming film currently referred to as Untitled Mike Leigh 13.
7 time Academy Award nominee writer/director Mike Leigh has been planning for over a decade his most ambitious film yet, a portrait of England's greatest artist JMW Turner.
Leigh has gathered a prestigious cast and crew led by actor Timothy Spall (Secrets & Lies, Topsy-Turvy, the Harry Potter series), Casting Director Nina Gold (The King's Speech, The Iron Lady, Secrets & Lies), Director of Photography Dick Pope, Academy Award nominee for The Illusionist (Secrets & Lies, Topsy-Turvy, Another Year), Hair and Make-up artist Christine Blundell, Academy Award winner for Leigh's Topsy-Turvy and Costume Designer Jacqueline Durran, recent Academy Award winner for Anna Karenina and Academy Award nominee for Pride & Prejudice and Atonement.
The film is produced by Georgina Lowe (Another Year) and executive produced by Gail Egan (Vera Drake, Topsy-Turvy, Another Year) and will begin production in Spring 2013 for a 2014 release. Production partners on the film include Film4, British Film Institute (BFI), Focus Features International, LipSync and Xofa Productions.
The National Gallery, Tate Britain and the Royal Academy have granted special access to some of Turner's original works.
Here's what Mike Leigh said about the film.
"Turner as a character is compelling. 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. I also see rich tragic-comic potential in his often turbulent relationship with the English Art Establishment, especially in his later years, when his increasingly radical work was misunderstood and derided."
Sony Pictures Classics also released the following statement.
"We are convinced Mike Leigh and JMW Turner are a match made in movie heaven. We are so pleased to be in partnership with Mike and his producers with a story that promises to be his best film ever."
Mike Leigh also added another statement about working with Sony Pictures Classics again.
"After our successful collaboration on Another Year, it is great to be reunited with Sony Pictures Classics."