EXCLUSIVE: Terence Davies’ (A Quiet Passion) Siegfried Sassoon biopic Benediction has wrapped in the UK, with joining cast including Geraldine James (Downton Abbey), Kate Phillips (Downton Abbey), Gemma Jones (Ammonite), Anton Lesser (Game Of Thrones), Jeremy Irvine (War Horse), Ben Daniels (The Crown), Lia Williams (The Crown), Jude Akuwudike (Gangs Of London), Suzanne Bertish (Atlantic Crossing), Simon Russell Beale (The Death Of Stalin) and Calam Lynch (Mrs Wilson).
Dunkirk and Fighting With My Family star Jack Lowden leads cast as WWI poet and soldier Sassoon. As we previously revealed, Peter Capaldi will play Sassoon in his later years.
The film, which had to go on a lengthy hiatus caused by the pandemic, has wrapped on locations in the West Midlands. Bankside has world sales rights and will be showing a promo to buyers at the upcoming AFM.
Sassoon was decorated for bravery on the Western Front and is remembered for his war poems that brought him public and critical acclaim in his time and after. He also became a focal point for dissent within the armed forces when he made a lone protest against the continuation of the conflict. Adored by members of the aristocracy as well as stars of London’s literary and stage world, Sassoon embarked on affairs with several men as he attempted to come to terms with his homosexuality. At the same time, broken by the horror of war, he made his life’s journey a quest for salvation, ultimately trying to find it within the conformity of marriage and religion.
Director Terence Davies said: “In the end he is a human being trying to navigate a difficult life, which is what we all do but art can be the greatest consolation for us all.”
The film is produced by Michael Elliott of EMU Films whose recent credits include Steve McQueen’s Small Axe films and Alan Moore’s scripted debut The Show. It was financed by the BFI, BBC Film, M.Y.R.A. Entertainment, Lipsync and Creative England via the WMPF (West Midlands Production Fund, supported by ERDF).
Executive producers are Lizzie Francke for the BFI, Rose Garnett for BBC Film, Margarethe Baillou for M.Y.R.A. Entertainment, John Taylor, Walli Ullah and Jim Mooney for EMU Films, Jack Lowden for Reiver Pictures, Norman Merry and Peter Hampden for LipSync and Paul Ashton for Creative England.