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Stephen Poliakoff's feature film 1939, featuring stellar line-up of UK's finest acting talent, starts shooting


Principal photography begins on Monday (3 November) on BAFTA-winning Stephen Poliakoff's (Capturing Mary, Joe's Palace, Gideon's Daughter, The Lost Prince) Second World War thriller 1939.

 

The feature film will shoot on location in Norfolk and London for six-and-a-half weeks and is a talkbackTHAMES production in association with Magic Light Pictures, funded by BBC Films, Quickfire Films, the UK Film Council and Screen East.

 

The UK's Momentum Pictures has acquired theatrical and home entertainment rights.

 

Award-winning British actress Romola Garai (Atonement) takes the lead as Anne, alongside BAFTA-winning actor Bill Nighy (Notes On A Scandal, Love Actually), who plays her father Alexander.

 

They are joined by Oscar-winning actress Julie Christie (Away From Her, Finding Neverland) who plays the formidable Aunt Elizabeth, Eddie Redmayne (The Other Boleyn Girl) as Anne's brother Ralph and Juno Temple (Wild Child) as their younger sister Celia.

 

David Tennant (Doctor Who) plays family friend Hector, Charlie Cox (Stardust) stars as Anne's lover Lawrence, Jeremy Northam (Gosford Park) as the shady government operative Balcombe and the legendary Christopher Lee (Lord Of The Rings, Golden Compass) as Walter.

 

1939 is set between present-day London and the idyllic Norfolk countryside in the lead up to the Second World War.

 

At a time of uncertainty and high tension, the story is centred around the formidable Keyes family, who are keen to uphold and preserve their very traditional, English way of life.

 

The eldest sibling Anne (Romola Garai) is a budding young actress who is head-over-heels in love with Foreign Office official Lawrence (Charlie Cox).

 

Anne's seemingly perfect life begins to dramatically unravel when she stumbles across secret recordings of the anti-appeasement movement.

 

Whilst trying to uncover the origin of these recordings, a tangled web of dark secrets begins to unfurl, culminating in the mysterious death of a dear friend.

 

As war breaks out Anne discovers the truth and escapes to London to try to confirm her suspicions, but she is caught and imprisoned and only then does she finally begin to discover the true extent to which she has been betrayed.

 

1939 is writer/director Stephen Poliakoff's return to the cinema after an absence of a decade since his previous feature films which included the critically acclaimed and multi-award winning Close My Eyes starring Clive Owen, Saskia Reeves and Alan Rickman.

 

Since then Stephen has directed a plethora of BBC television dramas, most recently the BAFTA-winning Capturing Mary, BAFTA-nominated Joe's Palace, the Emmy Award-winning The Lost Prince and Gideon's Daughter which won Golden Globes for actors Bill Nighy and Emily Blunt.

 

Stephen Poliakoff comments: "I'm very excited to be making this film about a period that has always fascinated me, the extraordinary machinations that went on in British society on the eve of war.

 

"It is truly thrilling to be making it with such a tremendous cast which combines some of the most exciting young talent in the country including Romola Garai, Eddie Redmayne, Juno Temple, Charlie Cox and David Tennant with such great names of the British film industry as Bill Nighy, Julie Christie, and Christopher Lee."

 

The film is produced by Emmy winner Barney Reisz (Elizabeth I) and Martin Pope (Lawless Heart, The Heart Of Me); and the Executive Producer is Lorraine Heggessey, CEO, talkbackTHAMES.

 

The behind-the-scenes team includes BAFTA-nominated Production Designer Mark Leese (Capturing Mary), Director of Photography Danny Cohen (The Boat That Rocked, Joe's Palace), Oscar-winning Hair and Make-up designer Jenny Shircore (Elizabeth: The Golden Age), BAFTA-nominated Costume Designer Annie Symons (Doctor Zhivago) and Line Producer Julie Clark (Whitechapel).

 

Barney Reisz says: "It's a privilege to be working with Stephen Poliakoff on his long-awaited return to the big screen.

 

"First and foremost, we're making a thriller, a classic British period thriller with the cream of British acting talent, set during the outbreak of the Second World War, a fascinating unique moment in British history.

 

"I've always wanted to work with Romola Garai, one of our most talented young actresses, and with Bill Nighy and Julie Christie, both huge stars in their own right."

 

Lorraine Heggessey comments: "We are thrilled to be producing Stephen's return to the big screen and talkbackTHAMES' first theatrical release.

 

"We have co-produced award-winning television drama with Stephen for the last ten years and it is a great honour to continue to work with one of the UK's leading auteurs.

 

"Stephen always attracts the best of British talent, both established and up and coming, this film promises to be no exception."

 

Sam Nichols of Momentum Pictures says: "As a company we have a commitment to British film that taps into the rich talent base working in the UK today and this film is exemplary of that.

 

"The mixture of such a stellar cast and crew alongside Stephen Poliakoff's brilliant and unique style first attracted us to this project so we are delighted to be releasing 1939."

 

Jane Wright, Head of Rights and Commercial Affairs, BBC Films adds: "Stephen Poliakoff's compelling script really draws you in to the heart of the characters in this remarkable drama.

 

"After a long and fruitful history of working with Stephen on his television dramas we are excited to be a part of bringing his unique voice and vision to the big screen."

 

Sheryl Crown, Executive Producer at Screen East says: "We are delighted at Screen East to welcome the talent of Stephen Poliakoff, with his extraordinary cast and thrilling script, to Norfolk and feel proud to be associated with such a dynamic project in the East of England."

 

Sally Caplan, Head of the UK Film Council's Premiere Fund, says: "This is a chilling and remarkable thriller based on fact which, although period, has great contemporary relevance.

 

"With Stephen Poliakoff directing this outstanding script and exceptional cast of new and established British talent, I am sure this will mark a triumphant return to the big screen."

 

JB3/RD4

 

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Category: BBC Films
Date: 31.10.2008
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