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Mike Leigh and Timothy Spall to reunite for Turner movie

Mike Leigh directs Another Year

Story by Jack Foley

MIKE Leigh is to direct a film about the life of English painter JMW (Joseph Mallord William) Turner starring regular collaborator Timothy Spall.

The as-yet untitled project is being produced by Focus Features, the team behind Anna Karenina, Moonrise Kingdom and Hyde Park on Hudson.

Spall, who wil play the famed landscape watercolour artist, has previously worked with Leigh on Life is Sweet, All or Nothing and Topsy-Turvy, his 1999 film about Gilbert and Sullivan.

Commenting on what attracted him to the project, Leigh told the BBC: “Turner as a character is compelling. I want to explore the man, his working life, his relationships and how he lived. But what fascinates me most is the drama that lies in the tension between this driven eccentric and the epic, timeless world he evoked in his masterpieces.”

Ironically, Turner was considered an eccentric during his lifetime but is now regarded as one of the Britain’s greatest painters. He died in 1851 at the age of 76.

Alison Thompson, co-president of Focus Features International, commented: “We’re immensely looking forward to this new venture with Mike.”

She added that the director’s “unique style and story-telling” was sure “to deliver a compelling and beautiful film about this ground-breaking artist”.

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