Annette Bening and Bill Nighy will star in the independent family drama “Hope Gap,” with William Nicholson directing from his own script.

Protagonist Pictures is handling international sales with North American sales co-repped by CAA and Protagonist. Protagonist and CAA will introduce “Hope Gap” to buyers at the American Film Market, which opens Wednesday in Santa Monica, Calif. Principal photography is set to begin in the summer.

Bening and Nighy will portray a couple married for 29 years. The story follows their son’s weekend visit to their seaside home, when Nighy’s character informs him that he plans to leave his wife the following day. “Hope Gap” tracks the unravelling of three lives, through stages of shock, disbelief, and anger, to a resolution.

“Ever since ‘Shadowlands,’ I’ve been obsessed by the collision of love and pain: ‘Hope Gap’ is the most intense, most painful, and most loving story I’ve ever told. I’m so proud to have Annette Bening and Bill Nighy to tell it for me,” producer David M. Thompson of Origin Pictures said.

Bening is a four-time Academy Award nominee for “The Grifters,” “American Beauty,” “Being Julia,” and “The Kids Are All Right.” She recently starred in “20th Century Women” and will be seen next in “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool” with Jamie Bell.

Nighy’s credits include “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” and “Love Actually,” with appearances in the “Underworld” series, “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, and the “Harry Potter” franchise.

Nicholson was nominated for Academy Awards for writing “Gladiator” and “Shadowlands.” His credits include “Breathe,” “Unbroken,” “Everest,” “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” and “Elizabeth: The Golden Age.”

Bening, Nighy, and Nicholson are repped by CAA. Nighy is also repped by Markham, Froggatt and Irwin.