British acting royalty Bill Nighy (Love Actually, Hot Fuzz) has been cast alongside the excellent Aimee Lou Wood (Sex Education) in Living, an English-language adaptation of Akira Kurosawa’s 1952 film Ikiru.
The film will be written by Nobel Prize winner Kazou Ishiguro (Never Let Me Go, Remains of the Day) with South African director Oliver Hermanus (Moffie, The Endless River) in the director’s chair.
Living is to be produced by Stephen Woolley & Elizabeth Karlsen of Number 9 Films, best known for 2015’s Carol and 2010’s BAFTA-nominated Made in Dagenham. The producers will be familiar to Nighy, who worked with the production company in the 2016 crime thriller The Limehouse Golem.
Ishiguro spoke on the importance and relevance of the story, saying: “The inner story suggests that it’s the responsibility of each of us to bring meaning and satisfaction to our life… that even against the odds, we should try to find a way to be proud of, and happy with, the lives we lead. I believe this story can speak to the many of us obliged to spend long hours each day anchored to desks and screens — all the more so in this era of COVID — struggling to see what our individual contributions can possibly amount to within the broader picture.”
Living will be set in 1952 London, with Nighy playing a veteran civil servant who learns he has a fatal illness. Seeking purpose and meaning within his life, he ends up in a night of drunkenness and debauchery in Brighton. Seeking redemption, he finds himself drawn to a young co-worker called Margaret, played by Wood, and together they take part in a project for poor children in London against the backdrop of post-WW2 Britain.
On Twitter, Woolley and Karlsen shared their enthusiasm for the news, stating:
“The notion of teaming Japan’s greatest internationally renowned filmmaker, Kurosawa, with their greatest living author, Ishiguro, coupled with the tremendously talented Oliver Hermanus, is a producer’s dream.”
Living is currently in pre-production.
Words by Alex Green
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