EXCLUSIVE: William Nicholson’s (Gladiator) drama Hope Gap, starring Annette Bening (American Beauty), Bill Nighy (Love Actually) and Josh O’Connor (God’s Own Country), has sold into key markets for UK sales firm Protagonist Pictures.

Deals have closed in Germany/Austria (Tobis), Spain (A Contracorriente), Italy (Cloud 9), Australia and New Zealand (Transmission), Scandinavia and Iceland (SF Studios), China (DD Dream), Japan (Kino Films), Latin America (California Filmes), Poland (M2), Former Yugoslavia (MCF), Middle East (Front Row), Israel (Forum Films), Hungary (Cinetel) and Airlines/Ships (EIM). CAA co-reps North America.

Hope Gap, currently in final post-production, is Nicholson’s second feature as a director after 1997’s Firelight starring Sophie Marceau and Stephen Dillane. The acclaimed writer was Oscar-nominated for his screenplays for Gladiator and Shadowlands and further writing credits include Les MiserablesBreathe and Everest.

Hope Gap charts the unraveling of a marriage after 29 years and the impact on a family unit. In a wide-ranging interview Nicholson recently told us why the film is his “most intense and loving” movie yet.

David M Thompson of Origin Pictures produces with Sarada McDermott. Finance comes from Screen Yorkshire, Sampsonic Media, Creative Media and LipSync. 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.