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Aidan Gillen, Sandrine Bonnaire Join James Marsh’s Samuel Beckett Biopic, Key Sales Announced (EXCLUSIVE)

Aidan Gillen, Sandrine Bonnaire Join James
Courtesy of Courtesy of Evan Agostini/Invision/AP and Laurent Vu/SIPA

Aidan Gillen, who played Littlefinger in “Game of Thrones,” and Sandrine Bonnaire, a best actress winner at Venice for “La cérémonie,” have joined Gabriel Byrne in Samuel Beckett biopic “Dance First,” directed by Oscar-winner James Marsh.

Film Constellation has closed pre-sales on the film in Australia/New Zealand (Icon), Italy (Bim Distribuzione), Spain (Filmin), Portugal (Nos Audiovisuais), Greece (Filmtrade), Hungary (Vertigo Media), former Yugoslavia (Discovery) and Taiwan (Cai Chang). Pay TV outlet Sky developed the film as a Sky Original in the U.K.

Marsh, best-known for “The Theory of Everything,” for which Eddie Redmayne won an Oscar, and Oscar-winner “Man on Wire,” will start shooting the film on May 30 in Budapest.

“Dance First’s” cast also includes Fionn O’Shea, who will play the young Beckett. He appeared in “Handsome Devil,” “Dating Amber” and “Normal People,” and will be seen next in “Masters of the Air.” The film is written by Neil Forsyth (“Guilt,” “Eric, Ernie & Me”).

Inspired by Beckett’s maxim “dance first, think later,” the film explores the many parts of the literary giant’s life: Parisian bon vivant, World War II Resistance fighter, Nobel Prize-winning playwright, philandering husband and recluse.

Marsh said: “Samuel Beckett had such a radical influence on modern culture, yet despite all the adulation that came his way was acutely aware of his own failings. The film is a playful and often poignant exploration of the life of the literature icon, delving deep into the key relationships in Beckett’s life — mainly the two women he was close to.”

“Dance First” is produced by 2LE Media’s Michael Livingstone and Tom Thostrup, alongside Viktória Petrányi of Hungary’s Proton Cinema, Belgium’s Umedia and Fabien Westerhoff of Constellation Prods. as co-producers. Richard Mansell is an executive producer.

Gillen’s credits include “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Peaky Blinders.” Bonnaire’s credits include Palme d’Or winner “Under the Sun of Satan” and Venice winner “Happening”; upcoming titles include Kirill Serebrennikov’s “Limonov: The Ballad of Eddie.”

Film Constellation’s Cannes slate includes Un Certain Regard titles “Harka” by Lotfy Nathan and “Joyland” by Saim Sadiq, as well as Jamie Dack’s Sundance-winner “Palm Trees and Power Lines.”