EXCLUSIVE: Gemma Arterton (Quantum Of Solace), Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay) and Bill Nighy (The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) are set to star in Their Finest Hour And A Half, with Lone Scherfig (An Education) directing.

BBC Films developed and co-finances the film, which is being produced by Oscar-nominated producers Number 9 Films and Wildgaze Films, led by Stephen Woolley (Made In Dagenham) and Amanda Posey (Brooklyn). Gaby Chiappe has adapted Lissa Evans’s 2009 novel set in early 1940s World War II London. A romantic comedy imbued with the screwball repartee of classic Hollywood of the time (think a Brit His Girl Friday), Their Finest Hour And A Half is a battle of the sexes that follows the misadventures of a British movie crew trying to make a patriotic film to boost morale during the Blitz.

BBC Films’ Christine Langan and Ed Wethered will executive produce. HanWay, still hot off the headline-making $9 million Sundance sale of Brooklyn to Fox Searchlight, have boarded worldwide sales rights.

“Gaby Chiappe’s skilful adaptation of Lissa Evans’s brilliantly comic and moving wartime novel is a stunning film debut,” commented BBC Films’ head Christine Langan.

Their Finest Hour And A Half is a funny and touching romance with a great female lead role that is entertaining and emotional in equal measure,” added Hanway managing director Thorsten Schumacher.

The prestige pic is set for a late summer shoot, and reps another classy title from vet collaborators and Brit film industry stalwarts Posey and Woolley. Posey most recently produced Brooklyn with Finola Dwyer while Woolley has another stellar looking feature in the pipelines in Todd Haynes’ Carol, starring Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara and Kyle Chandler. Elizabeth Karlsen is a producer alongside Woolley for that project. Hanway is handling sales on both those titles.