Backstage with… Bill Nighy on his new film Living – which is already being talked up for an Oscar | Ents & Arts News


He’s one of this country’s best loved actors, famed for roles in films such as Love Actually and Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.

But Living could be Bill Nighy’s finest work, with critics already saying it could get a shot at next year’s Oscars.

It is a remake of a 1952 Japanese film Ikiru, and sees Nighy play Mr Williams, a dedicated life-long bureaucrat who is told he has a terminal illness.

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He then makes the decision to change his ways and start living life to the full.

For Nighy, he told Backstage, the TV and film podcast from Sky News, that it was a role that he couldn’t turn down.

“I met Kazuo Ishiguro, the Nobel Prize winning novelist, for the first time, and it was quite daunting – it was his suggestion that he’d wanted to transpose the [original] film from Tokyo to London for a while.

“And then when we met he put it together with me, which was for me obviously a marvellous development, and then he agreed to write the script.

“Then when Oliver Hermanus, who we’d seen his previous film, Moffie, which he shot with Jamie Ramsay, the cinematographer that made this film, and they came as a package, and they were they just turned out to be completely incredible. So the whole thing was very, very attractive.”

Nighy added that at its heart, the film is about “procrastination”, saying it is something that “everybody struggles with”.

He explained: “The film suggests it’s just an example of how you can resist that. You can actually get stuff done, and you can actually give your life some meaning rather than not.”

Aimee Lou Wood and Bill Nighy in Living. Pic: Sony Pictures
Aimee Lou Wood and Bill Nighy in Living. Pic: Sony Pictures

And while Mr Williams in the film looks at his own legacy ahead of his impending death, Nighy explains that he is not someone that is concerned with his own.

I don’t think I really accept that I’m going to die,” he said to Backstage.

“I kind of know it’s going to happen, but I don’t really believe it – I don’t think I’m alone in that.

“But no, I don’t think about my legacy. I used to think that my films would come on at three in the morning when people couldn’t sleep, you know? And they’d be like, ‘Oh, there’s that bloke. What’s his name? He was in that other thing you remember’… But now, of course, they just Google, and it’ll be digital. It’ll be all streamed, but no.”

You can listen to our review of Living in this week’s Backstage podcast.


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