The company took the rights from Embankment Films, which is handling international sales and launched in Cannes. It is Lionsgate’s latest UK deal after it also picked up Liam Neeson-starrer Made In Italy.
Hopkins stars in the eponymous role, a mischievous and highly independent man who, as he ages, refuses all assistance from his daughter Anne (Olivia Colman). Yet such help has become essential, following Anne’s decision to move to Paris with her partner. As Anne’s father tries to make sense of his changing circumstances, he begins to doubt his loved ones, his own mind and even the fabric of his reality.
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Mark Gatiss (Sherlock), Imogen Poots (Green Room), Rufus Sewell (The Man in the High Castle) and Olivia Williams (An Education) also star.
French novelist and playwright Zeller will direct the drama from a screenplay he co-wrote with Oscar-winner Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liaisons). Principal photography is due to begin on May in the UK. Financing comes from Elarof Fund and Film4, which retains UK television rights. UTA Independent Film Group and CAA are repping U.S. rights.
Producers are David Parfitt (Shakespeare in Love), Jean-Louis Livi (Read My Lips), Philippe Carcassonne (Coco before Chanel), Christophe Spadone for Les Films du Cru and the stage play’s producer Simon Friend. Viewfinder’s Paul Grindey executive produces, alongside Daniel Battsek, Lauren Dark and Ollie Madden for Film4.
The 2012 play, written and directed by Zeller, was first launched in Paris, winning a Moliere Award for Best Play before hitting Broadway NY and London’s West End where it won both Tony and Olivier Awards for Best Actor.
Lionsgate UK CEO Zygi Kamasa said, “We’re honored to add The Father to our film slate. This is a story that will resonate with everyone and I feel is important to tell. Florian has assembled the best in the business to bring this story to life on the big screen. We’re especially pleased because the creative team includes prolific producer David Parfitt, who we will again partner with following Red Joan, and Film4, who we recently worked with on releasing UK box-office topper, Fighting With My Family.”
Tim Haslam, who oversaw the deal for Embankment Films, added, “The Lionsgate UK team immediately picked up on the universal and highly contemporary relevance of The Father. Its themes of human dignity, struggle and compassion are alive in every family. Florian Zeller takes the audience on a true-to-life journey that is deeply intimate, provocatively humorous and ultimately life-affirming.”
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