Principal photography wrapped last week on family drama HOPE GAP, directed by William Nicholson, and starring Annette Bening, Bill Nighy and Josh O’Connor.
Nicholson, a two time Oscar nominated British screenwriter (Gladiator, Shadowlands), OBE, FRSL, director, playwright and novelist, directs from his own script. The film shot for 5 weeks across the UK, in the eponymous Hope Gap, Seaford in Sussex and Leeds and Doncaster, in Yorkshire.
HOPE GAP is financed by Screen Yorkshire, Sampsonic Media and Creative Media with LipSync on board as a production partner. It is produced by David M. Thompson (The Sense of an Ending, Woman in Gold, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom) and Sarada McDermott (Tolkien, Fighting with My Family, Finding Your Feet). Executive Producers include Hugo Heppell for Screen Yorkshire, Nicolas D. Sampson and Arno Hazebroek for Sampsonic Media, Gavin Poolman, Alex Tate and Peter Gould for CMI, Norman Merry and Peter Hampden for LipSync. LipSync Post is also on board to complete full post production.
Grace (Annette Bening) and Edward (Bill Nighy) have been married 29 years. When their son Jamie (Josh O’Connor) comes to visit for the weekend at their seaside home, Edward informs him that he plans to leave Grace. The next day.
Just another breakup. Everyone’s been there, in person or through friends. Hope Gap tracks the unravelling of three lives, through stages of shock, disbelief and anger, to a resolution, of sorts. It’s tender, it’s funny and above all, true. There are no easy answers, no simple paths to redemption, but in the end, it is a story of survival. A story of hope.
Bening is a four-time Oscar nominee (The Grifters, American Beauty, Being Julia, The Kids Are All Right). She recently starred in Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool and 20th Century Women.
Nighy’s credits include the recent highly acclaimed BBC 1 drama Ordeal by Innocence, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Their Finest and Love Actually.
O’ Connor is best known for his portrayal of Johnny Saxby in God’s Own Country (2017), for which he won a British Independent Film Award (BIFA) for Best Actor. He was also nominated in 2018 for the BAFTA EE Rising Star Award. He will play a young Prince Charles in the upcoming series of The Crown.
Nicholson is best known as the Oscar nominated writer of Gladiator and Shadowlands. Other writing credits include Breathe, Unbroken, Everest, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, and Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Previous feature directing credits include Firelight (1997).
Nicholson says: “Ever since Shadowlands I’ve been obsessed by the collision of love and pain: HOPE GAP is the most intense, most painful, and most loving story I’ve ever told. I’m so proud to have Annette Bening, Bill Nighy and Josh O’Connor to tell it for me.”
Producer David Thompson, Origin Pictures adds: “Bill has written a truly moving and witty script and we could not have asked for a stronger cast. I am delighted that Annette, Bill and Josh are going to star in what is sure to be a really powerful, distinctive and captivating film. We’re very pleased to have the support of Screen Yorkshire, Sampsonic, CMI and LipSync to bring this project to screen.”
The director of photography is Anna Valdez-Hanks, editor Pia di Ciaula, production designer Simon Rogers, costume designer Suzanne Cave and make-up designer Melanie Lenihan.
Leading international sales agent Protagonist Pictures will handle international sales, with CAA Media Finance co-repping North America.