Terence Davies to make Benediction with Jack Lowden
by David Katz
- UK production outfit EMU Films is producing Davies’ biopic of Siegfried Sassoon, one of the leading British poets of World War I
Jack Lowden (Dunkirk [+see also:
film profile], Mary Queen of Scots [+see also:
film profile]) will play World War I poet Siegfried Sassoon in Terence Davies’ upcoming biographical film Benediction. Often considered one of Britain’s best living directors, this movie marks Davies’ return to filmmaking following a productive spell where he premiered Sunset Song [+see also:
interview: Terence Davies
film profile] at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival and A Quiet Passion [+see also:
film profile] at the 2016 Berlinale soon after.
His second biopic of a leading poet, after A Quiet Passion’s portrayal of Emily Dickinson, Benediction will detail Sassoon’s rise to acclaim for his unsparing, often satirical descriptions of trench warfare. After serving with the Royal Welch Fusiliers, where he was known as “Mad Jack” on account of his suicidal feats of bravery, he spoke out against the war and narrowly escaped being court-martialled.
Lowden was “captivated” by the script and said, “Sassoon had this huge life, and Terence has got it all down.” The film will also recount his closeted post-war life, when being gay was still a criminal offence in Britain. He had an affair with composer and actor Ivor Novello, and later married and converted to Roman Catholicism. According to Davies, “He knew everybody – in the 20th century, there isn’t a single person you can name that he didn’t meet, and it’s quite extraordinary.”
Lowden himself has been nominated for the EE Rising Star Award at the impending BAFTAs. The long-gestating film will be produced by Michael Elliott, of EMU Films (Dirty God [+see also:
interview: Sacha Polak
film profile] and Steve McQueen’s upcoming BBC series Small Axe), with principal photography due to begin this spring.
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