Newmarket Films has acquired US rights to Jon Amiel’s Creation, following its world premiere as the opening night gala at Toronto.

The distributor plans a December release after Chris Ball and Robert Fyvolent negotiated the deal with HanWay Films CEO Tim Haslam on behalf of the producer.

Real-life couple Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly play Charles Darwin and his wife in the film, which chronicles the father of evolutionary science’s personal struggle to complete his book On The Origin Of Species. Toby Jones and Jeremy Northam also star.

Jeremy Thomas produced through Recorded Picture Company with BBC Films and Ocean Pictures. John Collee adapted the screenplay from the book Annie’s Box by Darwin’s great-great grandson Randal Keynes.

“We at Newmarket pride ourselves in getting behind important films that help open the door for discussion and conversation, as is the case with Creation,” Newmarket’s Ball said. “While Darwin’s name has come to symbolise one side of a debate between the scientific and the theological, Creation personifies the debate, with both sides contending, sometimes violently, within the man. In that sense, we believe that the film will appeal both to people of faith and people of science.”

“It’s a very specialised market for films now and Newmaket have shown in the past that they have managed to take films and have great success with them,” Thomas said. “I think back to what they did with The Passion Of The Christ, a very different film but one that also challenged people’s ideas, and am happy to be working with people who can achieve this. We hope the debate doesn’t get in the way of what is a human story, with bigger issues at its core.”

“I’m thrilled that Newmarket have recognised the broad appeal of Creation, a beautiful and emotional film,” Haslam added.