BERLIN — Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay are set to star in rising British helmer Andrew Haigh’s “45 Years,” which is being repped in international markets by The Match Factory. Haigh is the director and exec producer of the well-received HBO show “Looking.”
“45 Years,” which will start to shoot this spring, follows Kate Mercer in the five days leading up to her 45th wedding anniversary. The planning for the party is going well, but then a letter arrives for her husband. The body of his first love has been discovered, frozen and preserved in the icy glaciers of the Swiss Alps. By the time the party is upon them, five days later, there may not be a marriage left to celebrate.
Haigh adapted the screenplay from a short story by the poet David Constantine. Tristan Goligher is producing for The Bureau. The pic has received coin from the BFI Film Fund, Film4 and Creative England.
Haigh and Goligher previously worked together on “Weekend,” which became a breakout hit after winning the Emerging Visions Audience Award at SXSW, where it premiered. The film went on to win numerous awards including Breakthrough British Filmmaker, for Haigh, at the London Critics Circle Film Awards and a BIFA for achievement in production. Sundance Selects picked up North American theatrical and VOD rights.
Rampling’s credits include Francois Ozon’s films “Swimming Pool,” for which she won the European Film Award, and “Jeune & Jolie,” and Bille August’s “Night Train to Lisbon,” in which Courtenay also acted. She was nominated for a Primetime Emmy last year for TV drama “Restless.”
Courtenay’s pics include Fred Schepisi’s “Last Orders” and Dustin Hoffman’s “Quartet.” He was Oscar nommed for “The Dresser” and “Doctor Zhivago,” and won a BAFTA for “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.”
“45 Years” continues a busy spell for London’s The Bureau and sister company the Paris-based Le Bureau. Last year the companies co-produced Roger Michell’s “Le Weekend” with Free Range Films, and are in post-production with Potboiler for Alan Rickman’s “A Little Chaos,” starring Kate Winslet and Matthias Schoenaerts, as well as Alain Choquart’s “Ladygrey,” starring Peter Sarsgaard, Emily Mortimer, Jeremie Renier and Liam Cunningham, which just wrapped in South Africa.
Goligher commented, “Andrew first showed me the short story, that has become ‘45 Years,’ in 2008 when we were making a short film together. Back then it was but a dream that we could one day bring together such an incredible cast, to tell the story of two people facing their life’s choices head on. We now have the chance to make that a reality.”
Richard Holmes, senior film executive at Creative England, added: “The film team at Creative England are proud to be supporting ‘45 Years.’ Everything we do is motivated by a desire to support the brightest and best, and Andrew Haigh and Tristan Goligher are certainly two shining stars who with ‘Weekend’ have already proved they can make film gems of the highest quality. ‘45 Years’ is one of the first films to be supported by the Creative England Production Fund, whose key aim is to help filmmakers from outside London tell stories rooted in the English regions and beyond. We will be announcing more exciting projects that we have funded soon.”
Ben Roberts, director of the BFI Film Fund, said: “ ‘Weekend’ was a striking film, which really lingered in the mind, and the script and scenario for ‘45 Years’ has a similar effect — original and surprising, yet unnervingly recognizable. Andrew is a significant emerging voice in British cinema.”
Tessa Ross, controller of film and drama, Channel 4, said: “ ‘Weekend’ instantly marked Andrew out as a huge new talent, so we’re incredibly excited to be working with him on ‘45 Years’ — a beautifully realized exploration of marriage, love and the choices that shape our lives. It is testament to Andrew’s writing and vision that he’s attracted two of our most exceptional actors, Charlotte and Tom, to play the leads — we can’t wait to work with him, Tristan and all of our partners to realize this very special film.”