Tuesday 16 January 2018

Andy Serkis’s directorial debut Breathe to open BFI London Film Festival

The film stars Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy.

Andy Serkis has made his directorial debut (Ian West/PA)
Andy Serkis has made his directorial debut (Ian West/PA)

By Laura Harding, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

The first film directed by Lord Of The Rings star Andy Serkis will premiere at the BFI London Film Festival as the opening night gala.

Breathe stars Hacksaw Ridge’s Andrew Garfield and The Crown’s Claire Foy in the true story of Robin Cavendish, whose life takes a dramatic turn when polio leaves him paralysed.

Foy plays Cavendish’s wife Diana, who brings him home from the hospital to encourage him to lead a long and fulfilled life.

It is the first feature film directed by Serkis, who is best known for his performances as Gollum in The Lord Of The Rings and Caesar in the Planet of the Apes films.

Andy Serkis is best known for his motion capture work (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Jonathan Cavendish, who founded The Imaginarium Studios with Serkis and upon whose parents’ story the film is based, is producer, while Hugh Bonneville, Tom Hollander, Stephen Mangan and Dame Diana Rigg are also among the cast.

Serkis said: “On behalf of the cast and crew of Breathe, we are absolutely thrilled and deeply honoured to be the opening gala performance in this year’s incredibly richly diverse and world-class BFI London Film Festival.

The film features The Crown star Claire Foy (Ian West/PA)

“Breathe is a deeply personal story to all of us at The Imaginarium and to have the European premiere of my directorial debut in London, my hometown, is beyond my wildest dreams.”

Clare Stewart, director of the film festival added: “We are proud to be opening the 61st BFI London Film Festival with a film that is a beacon for remarkable British talent: the directorial debut of Andy Serkis, compelling performances from a stellar cast led by Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy, and a story of universal resonance that is also deeply personal for producer Jonathan Cavendish.

The film also stars Andrew Garfield (Ian West/PA)

“Breathe is not only an inspirational love story, it is also a film about two truly indomitable spirits who defy the odds and the sceptics to pave the way for change.”

The London Film Fest runs from October 4-October 15 and the full lineup will be unveiled on August 31.

Breathe is released in UK cinemas on October 27.

Press Association

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