Never Let Me Go: Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley at the London Film Festival
Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield opened the London Film Festival with Never Let Me Go, an adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's best-selling novel.
The film has already been mooted as a "wildcard" choice for best picture at next year's Oscars after garnering critical acclaim at early screenings in Telluride and Toronto.
Mulligan, 25, said that appearing in a film based on the work of a contemporary author was a daunting prospect. "Keira and I did Pride and Prejudice together, we've done lots of adaptations of Dickens and Austen, where the author's not around to to tell you off when it's rubbish."
She was "the biggest fan" of the book, a heartrending tale of three friends in an English boarding school who are destined for a terrible fate.
Garfield, 27, who will next be seen in Spider-Man, said: "I think it's very rare that you find a script that's so full of what it is to be alive, to be human - the struggles that we collectively go through and this massive existential question mark. As actors you search for that type of material. None of us hesitated in being part of such a beautiful story."
Knightley, 25, plays the least sympathetic character of the three. She had not read the book before she was invited to star in the film. "The first thing I knew about it was the script that came through my door. I had never read anything like it. Obviously, once I said yes, I read the book and thought it was completely astonishing."
The London Film Festival runs until October 28. Highlights include another Oscar contender, The King's Speech, starring Colin Firth; Mike Leigh's Another Year, which premiered to a rapturous reception at Cannes earlier this year; and Danny Boyle's 127 Hours, based on the gut-wrenching true story of Aron Ralston, a climber forced to cut off his own arm.