‘Gosford Park,’ ‘K-Pax’ bookend London fest

Double feature gives event its highest-profile in years

LONDON — The world premiere of Robert Altman’s “Gosford Park” will open the 45th London Film Festival, which runs Nov. 7-22.

Fest will close with the international premiere of “K-Pax,” directed by British helmer Iain Softley.

This double whammy is a major coup for the London fest, giving the event perhaps its highest-profile bow and finale for many years.

“Considering the increasingly competitive nature of the international film festival environment, securing major films such as these is a tribute to the growing stature of the Regus London Film Festival,” fest director Adrian Wootton said.

Altman’s “Gosford Park” is the American auteur’s first-ever British movie, a country house drama set before WWII and featuring a huge ensemble cast of leading local thesps. It’s funded by Capitol Films and the Film Council, with USA Films distributing in the U.S. and Entertainment Film Distributors in the U.K.

Stars include Maggie Smith, Alan Bates, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Jeremy Northam, Richard E. Grant, Helen Mirren — plus a single American, Ryan Phillippe. The size of the cast alone guarantees a glitzy turnaround for the London fest’s first night.

“K-Pax,” starring Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges, is co-financed by Universal and Intermedia, with FilmFour and Pathe partnering on the U.K. release.

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