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‘Downton Abbey’s’ Michelle Dockery, Charlotte Rampling Join ‘The Sense of an Ending’

LONDON — “Downton Abbey’s” Michelle Dockery, Charlotte Rampling, Harriet Walter and Emily Mortimer have joined the cast of “The Sense of an Ending,” which stars the previously announced Jim Broadbent.

Rampling’s recent credits include “45 Years,” for which she won the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, while Mortimer appeared in Martin Scorsese’s movies “Hugo” and “Shutter Island,” and Aaron Sorkin’s TV drama “The Newsroom.” Walter has been in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Babel” and Joe Wright’s “Atonement.”

Playwright Nick Payne wrote the screenplay, which was adapted from the 2011 Man Booker Prize-winning novel by Julian Barnes. The film is directed by Ritesh Batra, who helmed BAFTA-nominated “The Lunchbox.” It starts to shoot on Aug. 16. Shooting takes place over seven weeks on location in London and Bristol.

Also joining the cast are three up-and-coming British actors: Billy Howle (soon to appear opposite Annette Bening and Saoirse Ronan in the big-screen adaptation of Chekov’s “The Seagull”), Freya Mavor (“Sunshine on Leith,” “The White Queen”) and Joe Alwyn (recently cast as the eponymous star in Ang Lee’s upcoming Iraq War drama “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk”).

The film centers on Tony Webster (Broadbent), who is divorced and retired and leads a reclusive and relatively quiet life. One day, he learns that the mother of his university girlfriend, Veronica, left in her will a diary kept by his best friend, who dated Veronica after she and Tony parted ways.

Tony’s quest to recover the diary, now in Veronica’s possession, forces him to revisit his flawed recollections of his friends and of his younger self. As he digs deeper into his past, it all starts to come back; the first love, the broken heart, the deceit, the regrets, the guilt… Can Tony bear to face the truth and take responsibility for the devastating consequences of actions he took so long ago?

“The Sense of an Ending” is being produced by David Thompson and Ed Rubin of Origin Pictures, and executive producers are Christine Langan and Ed Weathered for BBC Films, Ben Browning and Glen Basner from FilmNation, and Norman Merry from LipSync Productions. BBC Films, LipSync Productions and FilmNation Entertainment are financing the film. FilmNation has acquired worldwide rights, apart from U.K. television.

Thompson described Batra as “a major directing talent, as shown by his wonderful film ‘The Lunchbox’ that had such sensitivity and emotional punch.” “The Sense of an Ending” is the first feature film script for Payne, who is best known for “Constellations.” “He has a startlingly original voice,” Thompson said.

The director of photography is Chris Ross (“Black Sea,” “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll”) and the costume designer is Odile Dicks-Mireaux (“An Education,” “Brooklyn”). Jacqueline Abrahams (“How I Live Now,” “The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death”) is the production designer and the makeup designer is Nadia Stacey (“Pride,” “A Fantastic Fear of Everything”).

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