Bill Nighy, ‘Jojo Rabbit’s’ Roman Griffin Davis Join ‘500 Miles’

Bill Nighy and “Jojo Rabbit” breakout Roman Griffin Davis are lined up to star in “500 Miles,” directed by BAFTA winner Morgan Matthews.

Beta Cinema has acquired international sales rights to the film, and will launch sales at next week’s European Film Market.

The film, described as a “thrilling road movie full of heart, wit and wonder,” follows a broken family forced to come together when 16-year-old Finn (Davis) and his livewire younger brother Charlie run away from trouble at home in England to reach their estranged grandfather (Nighy) on Ireland’s stunning and wild west coast.

Matthews, director of drama “X+Y” starring Asa Butterfield and Sally Hawkins as well as documentary “Williams,” is set to direct from a script by Malcolm Campbell (“What Richard Did,” “Herself”), based on the novel “Charlie and Me” by Mark Lowery.

Former head of BBC Film David Thompson (“Billy Elliot,” “Notes on a Scandal”) is producing with Alex Gordon and Keren Misgav Ristvedt for Origin Pictures (“Hope Gap,” “Sense of an Ending”), Martina Niland (“Once,” “Sing Street”) from Dublin-based Port Pictures, and Minnow Films.

The project is being prepped to shoot in Kerry, Ireland later this year.

Along with being Oscar-nominated for “Living” last year, Nighy has appeared in British hits “Love Actually” and “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” Griffin Davis played the leading role in Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit” in 2019, earning him a Golden Globe nomination and Critic’s Choice Award for the best young performer. The film became a box office success and was nominated for six Academy Awards.

The “500 Miles” casting is by Louise Kiely (“Banshees of Inisherin,” “Normal People”).

Tassilo Hallbauer, head of sales and acquisitions at Beta Cinema, said: “The script takes us on an emotional, often hilariously funny, yet deeply moving journey through some of the most beautiful parts of the U.K. and Ireland. In ‘Jojo Rabbit,’ Roman Griffin Davis demonstrated his brilliant talent for portraying deep character roles with a unique sense of humor. With Bill Nighy’s involvement, following his pivotal, Oscar-nominated performance in ‘Living,’ Origin Pictures are assembling a dream cast. ‘500 Miles’ offers top-tier escapism and will resonate with international audiences of all ages.”

Thompson added, “‘500 Miles’ is both hilarious and heart wrenching and ultimately rather life affirming. It has such an original take on the world and will be a truly unforgettable film.”

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