Principal photography has gotten underway on Heyday Films and BBC Films production of Vera Brittain’s
iconic and powerful, WW1 memoir, Testament
Of Youth. The all star cast includes
Alicia Vikander (A Royal Affair, Anna
Karenina), Kit Harington, (Pompeii,
Game Of Thrones) Taron Egerton, (The
Secret Service, Inspector Lewis) Colin Morgan, (Merlin, Doctor Who) Dominic West, (300, The Wire), Emily Watson, (The
Book Thief, War Horse), Joanna Scanlan, (The Invisible Woman, Death
Comes To Pemberley), Hayley Atwell, (Cinderella,
Restless), Jonathan Bailey, (Broadchurch,
Leonardo), Alexandra Roach, (Utopia,
The Iron Lady) and Anna Chancellor (Fleming,
Testament of Youth is financed by BBC Films, Screen Yorkshire’s
Yorkshire Content Fund, BFI, Nordisk Film Production, Lipsync and Ingenious.
Protagonist Pictures is handling international sales and Lionsgate UK is distributing in the UK and Australia.
Alicia Vikander plays
the iconic writer, feminist and pacifist, Vera Brittain, and Kit Harington
plays Roland Leighton, Brittain’s fiancé. Alicia Vikander recently completed
Alex Garland’s Ex Machina and Guy
Ritchie’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Testament
Of Youth is directed by James Kent (The
Thirteenth Tale, The White Queen)
and produced by David Heyman (Gravity,
Paddington) and Rosie Alison (Paddington,
The Thirteenth Tale) for Heyday Films.
The co-producer is Celia Duval (Turks
& Caicos, Salting The Batttlefield).
The Executive Producers
are Christine Langan (Philomena, Saving
Mr. Banks) and Joe Oppenheimer (Alan
Partridge: Alpha Papa, Broken) for BBC Films; Richard Mansell (Tiger House, Dom Hemingway); Zygi Kamasa
(The Railway Man, Salmon Fishing In The
Yeman) for Lionsgate UK and Hugo Heppell (’71, Peaky Blinders) for Screen Yorkshire. The film shoots in various locations around
the UK including Yorkshire, Oxford and London.
Juliette Towhidi adapted the screenplay from Brittain’s searing story of love
and war, which was first published in 1933. In Towhidi’s script Vera,
irrepressible, intelligent and free-minded, overcomes the prejudices of her
family and hometown to win a scholarship to Oxford. With everything to live for,
she falls in love with her brother’s brilliant friend Roland Leighton as they
go to University to pursue their literary dreams.
But the First World War
is looming and as the boys leave for the front Vera realises she cannot sit
idly by as her peers fight for their country, so volunteers as a nurse and sets
off for France.
“I am thrilled and
honoured to be bringing Vera Brittain’s powerful and passionate memoir of war,
love and remembrance to the screen,” said David Heyman. “We needed a
remarkable actress to capture Vera’s range and complexity, so I’m completely
delighted that the exceptional Alicia Vikander has taken on this role. And I am
excited to be working with director James Kent whose sensibility is perfectly
matched to Juliette Towhidi’s deeply moving script.”
Rosie Allison, Producer
“Testament of Youth is one of the most
potent and moving war memoirs ever written,” said BBC Films head and Executive
Producer, Christine Langan. “BBC Films is privileged to be working with Heyday,
James Kent and the luminous Alicia Vikander on bringing this unforgettable
story, brilliantly retold by Juliette Towhidi, to the big screen. In this
centenary year, there can be few more significant ways of examining the First
World War and its phenomenal impact on twentieth century life and beyond’.
London-based Heyday Films has a string of hit credits including the eight film
Harry Potter franchise, I Am Legend, Yes
Man, We’re The Millers, The Boy In The Striped Pajamas and Gravity which was nominated for 10
Academy Awards and won seven including Best Director. The company is currently
in post-production on Paddington, the
first live action film based on the popular children’s character.
James Kent is a BAFTA
and Emmy award winning film-maker who previously directed the critically
acclaimed TV film The Thirteenth Tale for
Heyday. The film, which screened in December on BBC2 in the UK, was written by
Christopher Hampton and starred Vanessa Redgrave and Olivia Colman. He
previously directed the pilot and a further two episodes of Golden Globe
nominated series The White Queen for
BBC and Starz.
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