Lionsgate Takes U.K. Rights to Bill Nighy's 'Living' Drama

Bill Nighy- Getty -H 2016
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The period drama will be directed by Oliver Hermanus and produced by Number 9 Films’ Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen.

Lionsgate has acquired the U.K. rights to Living, starring Bill Nighy, ahead of production, set to start in the U.K. in spring.

The period drama will be directed by Oliver Hermanus and produced by Number 9 Films’ Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen. The film, written by Kazuo Ishiguro, is an English-language adaptation of the classic Akira Kurosawa story Ikiru, written by Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto and Hideo Oguni.

Set in London 1952, Living focuses on Williams (Nighy) a veteran civil servant who has become a cog in the bureaucracy of rebuilding post-WWII England. As paperwork piles up on his desk, Williams learns he has seven months to live, unleashing a quest to find meaning in his life before it slips away.

The film, which is developed and co-financed by Film4 and Ingenious Media, was brought in by Emma Berkofsky, the studio's senior acquisition and production executive in the U.K. Living is the first film acquired by Lionsgate in the region since U.K. acquisitions was combined with the global acquisitions team overseen by Jason Constantine, president of acquisitions and co-productions for the studio.

Films in the U.K. will be shepherded by a team that includes Berkofsky, with Marie-Claire Benson overseeing marketing and distribution. The announcement of the Living acquisition was made by Constantine and follows the departures of top Lionsgate U.K. execs Zygi Kamasa and Nicola Pearcey.

“Lionsgate is continuing its longstanding commitment to acquiring the best of British cinema and bringing the highest caliber entertainment to U.K. audiences. We are thrilled for Lionsgate U.K. to be continuing our relationship with Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen on another outstanding film," Constantine said in a statement.

The deal for the U.K. distribution rights was negotiated by Number 9's Woolley and Berkofsky for Lionsgate. Rocket Science is handling sales.