Film Festivals
HBO Films and Miami International Film Festival to Premiere HBO Films' 'The Life and Death of Peter Sellers' on November 19, at Miami Dade College
By Carmen Argamasilla of HBO
Nov 12, 2004, 23:07

Starring Geoffrey Rush in Title Role, Film Will Debut December 5, Exclusively On HBO; Also Starring Charlize Theron, John Lithgow, Miriam Margolyes, Stephen Fry, With Stanley Tucci and Emily Watson

MIAMI, FL -- HBO Films, in partnership with the Miami International Film Festival and Miami Dade College, will screen HBO Films' "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers." The invitation-only Miami premiere will take place on November 19 at the college's Wolfson Campus Chapman Center.

Academy Award(R)-winner Geoffrey Rush (Best Actor for 1996's "Shine") stars in an intimate look at the charismatic actor whose brilliant, idiosyncratic gift for mimicry and invention catapulted him to international cultural icon status. The movie, a DeMann Entertainment/Company Pictures production, presented by HBO Films, in association with BBC Films, also stars fellow Oscar(R)-winner Charlize Theron, John Lithgow, Miriam Margolyes, Stephen Fry, with Stanley Tucci and Emily Watson. Sonia Aquino co-stars.

"I am honored that the Miami International Film Festival is partnering with HBO for the local screening of "The Life & Death of Peter Sellers," continuing the Festival and Miami Dade College's longstanding tradition of exposing our community and students to the very best in film and the arts," said Dr. Eduardo J. Padron, President of Miami Dade College. "Being associated with such a fine project enriches our institution and our community."

Directed by Stephen Hopkins ("24," "Under Suspicion"), the film contrasts Sellers' uncanny ability to adopt the personalities of others with his tortured inability to embrace a personality of his own. His comic masks served as windows to his inner life, his perpetual transformations revealing both his unquenchable need for love and the difficulty he had in returning it.

For the production Hopkins was not looking for photographic, carbon copies of the real-life people, but rather great actors who embodied the essence of those characters.

"Geoffrey Rush was my first choice," says Hopkins of the Sellers role. "Geoffrey has an ability to play characters that are eccentric and much larger than life with, perhaps, a touch of evil or danger about them. Yet he plays them with such style and charm and compassion that you understand where these people are coming from. He has an understanding of the acting craft -- very Sellersesque, if you will, that allows him to just go in any direction."

"The Life and Death of Peter Sellers" debuts Sunday, December 5 at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

The film was also executive produced by Freddy DeMann ("Dangerous Game"), George Faber ("The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby") Charles Pattinson ("Morvern Callar") and David M. Thompson ("Dirty Pretty Things," HBO's "The Gathering Storm"); and produced by Simon Bosanquet (HBO Films' "Wit"). The film is based on the book of the same name by Roger Lewis, with a script by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely.

Geoffrey Rush won the Best Actor Academy Award(R) and the Golden Globe Award for 1996's "Shine," as well as Best Actor awards from the Screen Actors Guild, the Australian Film Institute, BAFTA, New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Boston Society of Film Critics, Broadcast Film Critics Association, Film Critics Circle of Australia and London Critics Circle. His other awards include a BAFTA award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for "Elizabeth," and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast for "Shakespeare in Love" (for which he also received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar(R) nomination). Rush's films also include "The Banger Sisters," "Swimming Upstream," "Frida," "Lantana," "The Tailor of Panama," "Quills" (for which he received a Best Actor Oscar(R) nomination), "House on Haunted Hill," "Mystery Men," "Les Miserables," "A Little Bit of Soul," "Twelfth Night," and the upcoming "The Kelly Gang," "The Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Intolerable Cruelty."

Stephen Hopkins, who directed the pilot for the Emmy(R)-nominated, highly acclaimed series "24," has also directed such feature films as "Under Suspicion," "Lost in Space," "The Ghost and the Darkness," "Blown Away," "Judgment Night," "Predator 2," "A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child" and "Dangerous Game." His other TV credits include "Tube Tales" and HBO's "Tales from the Crypt."

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