EXCLUSIVE: Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes) and rising Brit actor Johnny Flynn (Emma) are attached to star in One Life, a feature drama based on the true story of British humanitarian Nicholas Winton, who helped save hundreds of children from the Nazis on the eve of World War II.
Lucinda Coxon (The Danish Girl) and Nick Drake (Romulus) have co-written the screenplay based on the extraordinary story of Nicholas “Nicky” Winton who, when just 29 years old, championed the rescue of refugee children out of Czechoslovakia, under threat from Hitler’s death camps, to the safety of British foster families.
Battling public apathy, political hostility and bureaucratic obstruction, he succeeded in rescuing 669 children — many of them Jewish — before the war broke out, the borders closed and the mission was abruptly ended. Half a century later, Winton famously had a surprise reunion with the grown children whose lives he saved in a powerful and emotional moment captured on TV as part of the award-winning BBC TV show That’s Life.
Hopkins and Flynn will both play the role of Winton at different stages of his life.
Lion and The King’s Speech outfit See-Saw is producing the film with Aisling Walsh (Maudie) set to direct. The film will be executive produced by Rose Garnett for BBC Films,and See-Saw’s COO of Film Simon Gillis. BBC Films developed with See-Saw.
FilmNation Entertainment, alongside See-Saw’s in-house sales arm Cross City Films, will be managing international sales which will be launched at the virtual Toronto Film Festival market this week. UTA Independent Film Group will be co-repping the U.S. alongside FilmNation and Cross City.
Iain Canning and Emile Sherman, who are producing with Joanna Laurie, said, “Despite never wanting any attention for his altruistic act, Nicky’s story and the story of those he saved must be told. To be a part of sharing this moment in history with the world is an extraordinary privilege. Anthony and Johnny are without a doubt the right people to bring Lucinda and Nick’s beautifully crafted screenplay about this amazing man to life.”
Silence of the Lambs and The Remains of the Day legend Hopkins has recently starred in HBO’s Westworld, Netflix’s The Two Popes and Florian Zeller’s acclaimed feature The Father.
Actor and musician Flynn most recently starred in the movie Emma alongside Anya Taylor-Joy, Bill Nighy and Josh O’Connor. He broke out in Michael Pearce’s BAFTA-winning thriller Beast and secured a string of roles in upcoming movies including David Bowie film Stardust, See-Saw Films’ WWII drama Operation Mincemeat, and Simon Stone’s The Dig for Netflix. He has also been cast as Dickie Greenleaf in Showtime’s new TV series Ripley with Andrew Scott.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.