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Josh O'Connor joins Annette Bening and Bill Nighy in Hope Gap

Josh O'Connor

Story by Jack Foley

JOSH O’Connor, the BAFTA-nominated and BIFA-winning breakout star of award-winning drama God’s Own Country, will join Annette Bening (Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, The Kids Are All Right, American Beauty) and Bill Nighy (Their Finest, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Love Actually) in Academy Award-nominated writer-director William Nicholson’s bittersweet family drama Hope Gap.

Currently in pre-production, this tender take on familial disbandment is produced by BAFTA and Golden Globe-winning producer David M. Thompson of Origin Pictures (Woman in Gold, Revolutionary Road). Principal photography is set to begin in summer 2018.

O’Connor will play the role of Jamie, the son of Grace (Bening) and Edward (Nighy), who have been married for twenty-nine years. When he comes home to visit them in the fading seaside town where he grew up, Edward tells him that he plans to leave Grace.

The next day. Hope Gap tracks the unravelling of three lives, through stages of shock, disbelief and anger, to a resolution, of sorts. It’s tender, it’s funny and, above all, true. There are no easy answers, no simple paths to redemption, but in the end, it is a story of survival. A story of hope.

O’Connor said: “I’m thrilled to be working on Hope Gap, Bill has a clear vision and perfectly pitched screenplay. Working alongside Bill and Annette is a dream come true and I’m excited to get started.”

Nicholson stated: “I loved Josh O’Connor when I saw him in God’s Own Country, and when I met him I loved him even more. He’s blessed with a face you can’t help watching. And of course, most important for me, I know he has the talent and the humanity to deliver the powerful emotions that charge Hope Gap.”

British actor O’Connor first trained with the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and has garnered critical acclaim for his roles across film, television and theatre, being nominated for the EE BAFTA Rising Star Award this year, having previously been named a Screen International Star of Tomorrow in 2016 and in 2017 a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit.

He made his big-screen debut in Lone Scherfig’s The Riot Club and roles soon followed working with Stephen Frears both in The Program and Florence Foster Jenkins, the latter alongside Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant.

After starring in Peaky Blinders and Ripper Street in 2014, last year he reprised his role as Lawrence ‘Larry’ Durrell for the second season of ITV’s hugely successful The Durrells, with a third season due to broadcast this spring.

Josh can currently be seen as the lead in God’s Own Country, a bold love story heralded as “Britain’s Brokeback Mountain”, that has become the most successful British debut feature of 2018 and for which he was awarded Best Actor at the British Independent Film Awards.

He recently finished filming his next feature film, Only You, alongside Laia Costa, which will be released theatrically this year. Shortly, he will commence production on the BBC adaptation of Les Misérables, playing the role of Marius.

Writer-director Nicholson was nominated for Academy Awards for writing the modern acclaimed classics Gladiator, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix, and Shadowlands, directed by Richard Attenborough and starring Anthony Hopkins, Debra Winger and Julian Fellowes.

His latest offering, Breathe, starring Andrew Garfield, Claire Foy and Hugh Bonneville, was a runaway hit at the 2017 Toronto Film Festival following rave reviews.

Nicholson’s impressive roster of credits also includes Unbroken, directed by Angelina Jolie, Everest, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and Elizabeth: The Golden Age.