1939 is a film directed by Stephen Poliakoff’s set in the run-up to war as Churchill was arguing for battle, while Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain wanted to avoid conflict.
The film explores the issue of class at the on-set of the second world war and the sinister, behind the scenes dealings of the era’s politicians. The film is set in the 30’s.
Bill Nighy plays a powerful MP, Sir Alexander, his wife is played by Jenny Agutter. Eddie Redmayne and Juno Temple play their blood children.
The film also features Charlie Cox, Hugh Bonneville, Jeremy Northam and Christopher Lee.
The film will be shot in London and Norfolk and will be released in cinemas next year (2009).
Here is the info from the BBC press office:
The feature film will shoot on location in Norfolk and London for six-and-a-half weeks and is a talkbackTHAMES production in association with Magic Light Pictures, funded by BBC Films, the UK Film Council and Screen East.
Award-winning British actress Romola Garai (Atonement) takes the lead as Anne, alongside BAFTA-winning actor Bill Nighy (Notes On A Scandal, Love Actually), who plays her father Alexander.
They are joined by Oscar-winning actress Julie Christie (Away From Her, Finding Neverland) who plays the formidable Aunt Elizabeth, Eddie Redmayne (The Other Boleyn Girl) as Anne’s brother Ralph and Juno Temple (Wild Child) as their younger sister Celia.
David Tennant (Doctor Who) plays family friend Hector, Charlie Cox (Stardust) stars as Anne’s lover Lawrence, Jeremy Northam (Gosford Park) as the shady government operative Balcombe and the legendary Christopher Lee (Lord Of The Rings, Golden Compass) as Walter.
1939 is set between present-day London and the idyllic Norfolk countryside in the lead up to the Second World War.
At a time of uncertainty and high tension, the story is centered around the formidable Keyes family, who are keen to uphold and preserve their very traditional, English way of life.
The eldest sibling Anne (Romola Garai) is a budding young actress who is head-over-heels in love with Foreign Office official Lawrence (Charlie Cox).
Anne’s seemingly perfect life begins to dramatically unravel when she stumbles across secret recordings of the anti-appeasement movement.
While trying to uncover the origin of these recordings, a tangled web of dark secrets begins to unfurl, culminating in the mysterious death of a dear friend.
As war breaks out Anne discovers the truth and escapes to London to try to confirm her suspicions, but she is caught and imprisoned and only then does she finally begin to discover the true extent to which she has been betrayed.
Bill Nighy about Sir Alexander
I think he’s a pretty decent man. He’s a sincere man. I made the mistake, as I have made before, that in so much as I thought I was involved in some kind of lie, in fact, he’s not in a lie. I mean, he withholds information, but he fought in the First World War. The First World War was inexpressibly horrendous. It was 18 years prior to the action in the movie. Everyone else thought that it was impossible for Britain to win a war against Germany, so the responsible thing to do is prevent one. The length to which he and his colleagues had to go, that’s extreme obviously. But I think he’s a very interesting character and I think these are matters which you don’t see – it’s again one of the things that Stephen offers is that you see in him things that you don’t see in others. This is a character that you won’t find anywhere else as with most of the whole of the movie. It’s a very original idea, and it’s also a very unique way of looking at the period, but I think (Alexander) is trying to do the very best thing. He’s sincere, he loves his country. He thinks he’s the best thing for his country and he loves his family including his adopted daughter and he thinks it’s the best thing for them. He thinks it’s life or death for them, so he chooses life.