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Lionsgate Takes U.K. Rights to Florian Zeller’s ‘The Father’ With Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman

Lionsgate U.K. has taken theatrical rights to “The Father,” Florian Zeller’s movie adaptation of his hit stage play of the same name, starring Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman. Embankment Films, which executive produces the film, is handling worldwide sales (ex-France) and did the U.K. deal.

Principal photography started in the U.K. earlier this month on the film, which also stars Mark Gatiss, Imogen Poots, Rufus Sewell and Olivia Williams.

Lionsgate U.K. has the British theatrical rights. Broadcaster Channel 4 has the free-TV rights after Film4 invested in the movie.

Hopkins stars in the title role as a mischievous, independent man who, as he ages, refuses all assistance from his daughter Anne (Colman). Yet such help has become essential, following Anne’s decision to move to Paris with her partner. As Anne’s father tries to make sense of his changing circumstances, he begins to doubt his loved ones, his own mind and reality itself.

Zeller directs from a screenplay he co-wrote with Christopher Hampton (“Atonement,” “Dangerous Liaisons”).

“This is a story that will resonate with everyone and I feel is important to tell,” said Lionsgate U.K. CEO Zygi Kamasa. “Florian has assembled the best in the business to bring this story to life on the big screen. We’re especially pleased because the creative team includes prolific producer David Parfitt, who we will again partner with following ‘Red Joan,’ and Film4, who we recently worked with on releasing U.K. box-office topper, ‘Fighting With My Family.’”

Tim Haslam, who oversaw the deal for Embankment Films added: “The Lionsgate U.K. team immediately picked up on the universal and highly contemporary relevance of ‘The Father.’ Its themes of human dignity, struggle and compassion are alive in every family. Florian Zeller takes the audience on a true-to-life journey that is deeply intimate, provocatively humorous and ultimately life-affirming.”

“The Father” is a Trademark Films, FCommeFilm, Ciné-@ and Les Films du Cru co-production, produced by David Parfitt (“Red Joan,” “Shakespeare in Love”), Jean-Louis Livi (“Read My Lips,” “Un Coeur en Hiver”) and Philippe Carcassonne (“Coco Before Chanel,” “Ridicule”). Christophe Spadone for Les Films du Cru and the stage play’s producer, Simon Friend, also produce.

Viewfinder’s Paul Grindey executive produces, alongside Daniel Battsek, Lauren Dark and Ollie Madden for Film4. Embankment executive produces and represents worldwide sales, excluding France. CAA, UTA and Embankment co-represent the U.S. rights.

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