Bill Nighy, Aimee Lou Wood to Star in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Kurosawa Adaptation ‘Living’ For Number 9

BAFTA and Golden Globe winner Bill Nighy (“Love Actually,” “Emma”) will headline the cast of “Living,” alongside Aimee Lou Wood, known for her breakout role in Netflix’s “Sex Education.”

The screenplay by Nobel and Booker Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro (“The Remains of The Day”) is an English-language adaptation of the 1952 classic “Ikiru,” written by Japanese master Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto and Hideo Oguni.

The film will be directed by multiple award-winning filmmaker Oliver Hermanus (“Moffie”).

Set in London circa 1952, the film will follow Nighy’s veteran civil servant, who has become a small cog in the bureaucracy of rebuilding post-WWII England. As endless paperwork piles up on his desk, he learns he has a fatal illness, and begins a quest to find some meaning to his monotonous life before it slips away. He becomes intrigued by a young co-worker, who inadvertently shows him how to harness his years of experience and dedication into a final supreme effort on a worthy project.

“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,” said Ishiguro. “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.”

“At the heart of ‘Living’ is the message that one’s purpose, one’s footprint can be incremental, slight and somewhat unnoticeable in the grand scheme of things. But that these attainable efforts to help others and be a force of good in the world are what life and living is about. I think the world could use more stories like this, perhaps now more than ever before,” added Hermanus.

BAFTA winners and Oscar nominees Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen’s Number 9 Films (“Mothering Sunday,” “Carol,”) will produce the film, which will shoot on location in the U.K. next spring.

“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. This is a film about how a small act can become a momentous event, and Bill Nighy’s charm, wit and gravitas is perfect to spearhead the film, culminating in a tiny but epic gesture, which seems not only apt but crucially important for our current turbulent times,” said Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen.

The film has been developed with and will be funded by Film4 and Ingenious Media, in association with Kurosawa Productions and executive producer Ko Kurosawa.

Rocket Science will start sales at the upcoming online American Film Market (Nov.9-13).

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