Berlin 2013: Focus Boards Mike Leigh's J.M.W. Turner Biopic

JMW Turner P

Timothy Spall is attached to star as the celebrated British landscape painter; Focus Features International will co-finance with BFI and Film4.

BERLIN -- Mike Leigh's J.M.W. Turner biopic has found a home.

Focus Features International has picked up worldwide rights to the film and will co-finance with BFI and Film4. FFI co-president Alison Thompson will commence sales on the film at the Cannes International Film Festival in May.

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In the fall, Leigh revealed that Timothy Spall is attached to play the renowned British Romantic landscape painter, famous for his use of light and color. Turner was a pioneering and controversial figure in his day but since has become one of the most celebrated artists in British history.

“Turner as a character is compelling," Leigh said. "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."

Added Thompson: “We’re immensely looking forward to this new venture with Mike, whose unique style and story-telling is bound to deliver a compelling and beautiful film about this ground-breaking."

The project reunites Leigh and Focus International, who worked together on the director's previous film, Another Year.