Berlin 2013: Focus Boards Mike Leigh's J.M.W. Turner Biopic

Pamela McClintock
The Hollywood Reporter
Sony Pictures Classics to Reteam With Writer-Director Mike Leigh

BERLIN -- Mike Leigh's J. M. W. Turner biopic has found a home.

Focus Features International has picked up worldwide rights to the film, and will co-finance with BFI and Film4. FFI co-president Alison Thompson will commence sales on the film at the Cannes International Film Festival in May.

Last fall, Leigh revealed that Timothy Spall is attached to play the renowned British Romantic landscape painter, famous for his use of light and color. Turner was a pioneering and controversial figure in his day, but has since become one of the most celebrated artists in British history.

“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," Leigh said.

Added Thompson: “We’re immensely looking forward to this new venture with Mike, whose unique style and story-telling is bound to deliver a compelling and beautiful film about this ground-breaking

The project reunites Liegh and Focus International, who worked together on the director's last film, Another Year.