EXCLUSIVE: eOne will release Turner biopic, a Momentum acquisition, in 2014.
The BFI, Film4 and FFI-backed drama is due to shoot later this year. Focus Features International boarded international rights during the EFM.
“Turner as a character is compelling,” said Leigh during the EFM. “I want to explore the man, his working life, his relationships and how he lived. But what fascinates me most is the drama that lies in the tension between this driven eccentric and the epic, timeless world he evoked in his masterpieces.”
Timothy Spall will play Turner, with the actor and Leigh, who worked together on Life Is Sweet, Secrets & Lies, Topsy-Turvy and All Or Nothing, reuniting for the first time in a decade on the untitled project. Roger Ashton-Griffiths is also confirmed among the cast.
Turner, one of the great English Romantic painters, was admitted to the Royal Academy of Art at the age of just 14. After travelling extensively in Europe, the latter years of his life were marked by eccentricity and depression following the death of his father in 1829.
Georgina Lowe produces through Thin Man Films alongside Xofa Productions. Gail Egan, Tessa Ross from Film4 and Norman Merry of Lipsync Productions will serve as executive producers.
Lizzie Francke is lead executive for the BFI. Co-producers are Michel Saint Jean of Diaphana Films and Malte Grunert of Amusement Park Films.
Momentum previously picked up Leigh’s Another Year, Happy-Go-Lucky and Vera Drake for the UK.