Lone Scherfig to direct BBC Films’ wartime romcom; HanWay to handle worldwide sales.

Gemma Arteton

Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace, Tamara Drewe) has signed on to star as a young screenwriter in a romantic comedy set in wartime London, Their Finest Hour And A Half.

The film, directed by Lone Scherfig (The Riot Club, An Education), will also star Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay) and Bill Nighy (The Second Best Marigold Hotel, Pride), it was announced today.

BBC Films developed and will co-finance the feature, which is being produced by Oscar-nominated Number 9 Films and Wildgaze Films, led by Stephen Woolley (Carol, Made in Dagenham) and Amanda Posey (Brooklyn, An Education). 

It has been adapted for the screen by Gaby Chiappe - whose script appeared on the 2014 Brit List - from Lissa Evans’s comic and 2009 novel. 

Executive producers are Christine Langan and Ed Wethered of BBC Films, which featured the film on its 25th anniversary slate.

HanWay Films have boarded worldwide sales rights. The film is set for a late summer shoot.

Set in the early 1940’s, the romantic comedy “combines the quick-fire repartee of a screwball battle of the sexes infused with the reality of filmmaking under threat of invasion and London in​ the Blitz”.

Christine Langan, head of BBC Films, said: “Gaby Chiappe’s skilful adaptation of Lissa Evans’s brilliantly comic and moving wartime novel is a stunning film debut.

“BBC Films is delighted to be working again with Lone Scherfig who, together with her producers Amanda Posey and Steve Woolley, has delivered a truly exciting British cast.’

Thorsten Schumacher, MD of HanWay Films, added: “We look forward to working with our partners at Wildgaze and Number 9 after recent collaborations on Brooklyn and Carol.

Their Finest Hour And A Half is a funny and touching romance with a great female lead role that is entertaining and emotional in equal measure.”