Sony Pictures Classics Acquires Oliver Hermanus’ ‘Living’ Starring Bill Nighy Following Sundance World Premiere
Sony Pictures Classics announced today that they have acquired all rights in North America, Latin America, India, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Germany, South Africa, Southeast Asia, and airlines worldwide to Oliver Hermanus’ film “Living” , starring BAFTA and Golden Globe winner Bill Nighy. Written by Nobel Prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro, “Living” is a reimagining of Akira Kurosawa’s 1952 film “Ikiru.” The acquisition follows the film’s world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, where it was met with strong reviews. It is currently screening out of competition in the Premieres section.
In addition to Nighy, the cast includes Aimee Lou Wood (“Sex Education”), Tony Award winner Alex Sharp (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”), and Tom Burke (“The Souvenir”). The film is produced by BAFTA winner and Academy Award nominee Stephen Woolley (“The Crying Game”) and BAFTA winner Elizabeth Karlsen (“Carol”) of Number 9 Films, who also produced Sony Pictures Classics’ upcoming drama “Mothering Sunday.” The film has been developed with support from Film4 and Ingenious, with financing from Film4, County Hall Arts, and Lipsync. Executive producers are Kurosawa Productions.
“Living” is the story of an ordinary man, reduced by years of oppressive office routine to a shadow existence, who at the eleventh hour makes a supreme effort to turn his dull life into something wonderful – into one he can say has been lived to the full.
1953. A London shattered by WWII is still recovering. Williams (Bill Nighy), a veteran civil servant, is an impotent cog within the city’s bureaucracy as it struggles to rebuild. Buried under paperwork at the office, lonely at home, his life has long felt empty and meaningless. Then a shattering medical diagnosis forces him to take stock – and to try and grasp fulfillment before it goes beyond reach.
The film features costume design by 15-time Academy Award nominee and three-time winner Sandy Powell (“Shakespeare In Love,” “Carol”), hair and makeup design by BAFTA winner Nadia Stacey (“The Favourite”), cinematography by BIFA nominee Jamie Ramsay, and production design by BAFTA TV Craft winner Helen Scott. All four recently worked on “Mothering Sunday.”
Sony Pictures Classics said, “From the dazzling screenplay by Ishiguro, to the visual storytelling by Oliver Hermanus, to the spectacular performances led by Bill Nighy, to the evocative score and the perfection of the movie‘s design and costumes, “Living” is that overwhelming, emotional movie audiences are hungering for in their return to theaters. We are thrilled to embark on this adventure with these artists and our producer friends Stephen Woolley, Liz Karlsen, Daniel Battsek, and Rocket Science.”
Woolley stated, “’Living’ has been a work inspired by the passion of Kurosawa and built on by the equally passionate and sublimely talented Ishiguro, Bill Nighy and Oliver Hermanus. The team at Sony Pictures Classics have demonstrated for decades (with a track record of great movies that is unrivaled) that passion is the vital ingredient in not only making and creating vibrant movies but also releasing those films to audiences in North America and globally. Elizabeth and I as the producers of ‘Living’ are honoured to be in their company again and we are excited to share this glorious film in cinemas where it rightly belongs to inspire audiences in 2022 to embrace ‘Living’ .”
The deal was negotiated with CAA Media Finance and Rocket Science. The latter is handling international sales and previously worked with Sony Pictures Classics on “French Exit.”
About Sony Pictures Classics
Michael Barker and Tom Bernard serve as co-presidents of Sony Pictures Classics—an autonomous division of Sony Pictures Entertainment they founded with Marcie Bloom in January 1992—which distributes, produces, and acquires independent films from around the world. Barker and Bernard have released prestigious films that have won 41 Academy Awards (37 of those at Sony Pictures Classics) and have garnered 181 Academy Award® nominations (155 at Sony Pictures Classics) including Best Picture nominations for “The Father,” “Call Me By Your Name,” “Whiplash,” “Midnight in Paris,” “An Education,” “Capote,” “Howards End” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”
About Sony Pictures Entertainment
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition, and distribution; television production, acquisition, and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. SPE’s Motion Picture Group production organizations include Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures, 3000 Pictures, Stage 6 Films, AFFIRM Films, and Sony Pictures Classics.