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CANNES FIRST LOOK: Mike Leigh's 'Mr. Turner' Biopic, Starring Timothy Spall

Festivals
by Beth Hanna
April 17, 2014 12:50 PM
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Mike Leigh

A first image has arrived for Mike Leigh's much anticipated and long in-the-works J.M.W. Turner biopic -- simply titled "Mr. Turner" -- with Timothy Spall in the lead role as the famed Brit Romantic landscape painter. The film was announced this morning as part of the Cannes competition lineup. Check out the new still, below.

While no official synopsis has been released for the film, we know that Marion Bailey, Dorothy Atkinson and Paul Jesson co-star in Leigh's first period piece since 1999's brilliant behind-the-scenes Mikado tale "Topsy-Turvy." Cinematographer Dick Pope ("Another Year") was in charge of lensing, while the National Gallery, the Tate Britain and Royal Academy granted special access to some of Turner's paintings for the project.

Here’s what Leigh has had to say in the past about his interest in the artist, for hints about the direction of the film:

"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.  I also see rich tragic-comic potential in his often turbulent relationship with the English Art Establishment, especially in his later years, when his increasingly radical work was misunderstood and derided.”

Sony Pictures Classics snapped up rights to "Mr. Turner" in March 2013. No word yet on a stateside release.


Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh's "Mr. Turner."


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