Richard Armitage to Lead British LGBTQ+ Feature 'Now & Then' (Exclusive)

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Richard Armitage

Based on William Corlett's novel, the film will be directed by Adrian Noble from a script by Matt Western.

Richard Armitage — best known for playing Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit trilogy and most recently seen in Netflix's The Stranger — is set to take the lead in Now & Then, The Hollywood Reporter can reveal. 

Adapted from William Corlett's award-winning novel by screenwriter and noted British casting director Matt Western, the story follows Christopher Metcalfe (Armitage), who returns to his childhood home following the death of his father, confronting memories of his time in school and an intense, passionate affair he shared with fellow student, Stephen Walker. 

Adrian Noble, longtime artistic director at the Royal Shakespeare Company and most recently director of last year's well-received biopic Mrs. Lowry and Son starring Vanessa Redgrave and Timothy Spall, will helm the project, which is scheduled to shoot in the U.K. and Croatia in early 2021.

"This is a beautiful script The character of Chris resonated with me powerfully. I look forward to inhabiting the role and bringing this script to life," said Armitage, who has also signed up to lead Cannes Virtual Market title The Man From Rome.

"Although Now & Then is very much an LGBTQ+ project, it is, at its core, the heartfelt story of a mother and a son," said Western. "Laura, in her 60s and Chris, her gay, middle-aged son, are forced to undertake an exploration of their past mistakes and regrets to try and make sense of their present condition and their relationship with each other. To find peace with now, it’s necessary for them to make peace with then."

Croatian film and TV producer Bruno Mustic will produce. Mustic oversees a wide slate of international projects and is developing features with a broad range of award-winning screenwriters and directors.

Casting for the two young leads has now started, with Western saying that the two actors will be "crucial to the film,’’ adding that "they are very much breakout roles."