Bill Nighy faces the ultimate question: What is the point of life?
Nighy stars as a widower questioning his mortality after being diagnosed with stomach cancer in “Living,” the reimagining of Akira Kurosawa’s “Ikiru.” Novelist Kazuo Ishiguro adapted Kurosawa’s original script for the feature, helmed by Oliver Hermanus.
The official synopsis reads: Set in 1950s London, “Living” is the story of an ordinary man, reduced by years of oppressive office routine to a shadow existence, who at the eleventh hour makes a supreme effort to turn his dull life into something wonderful.
Aimee Lou Wood, Alex Sharp, Adrian Rawlins, and Tom Burke also star.
Nighy exclusively told IndieWire at the film’s Sundance premiere that the role presented a coveted mixture of layered emotions. “It’s not often you get a long role playing someone who’s just simply straightforward and decent,” Nighy said. “In this case, I also approached him as someone who I figured was institutionalized in grief. When his wife died very early on, something was arrested in him.”
IndieWire’s David Ehrlich praised Nighy’s “predictably affecting” turn in the role of Mr. Williams, calling Nighy’s rendition of the Scottish folk tune “Oh Rowan Tree” a “fittingly melancholic” aside.
Nighy noted that he did not try to carry Mr. Williams’ pain with him offset to make the character more believable. “You don’t have to feel it all,” Nighy said. “Acting is work – and that doesn’t diminish it in any way.”
The “About Time” star continued on Method acting, “If you’re in the company of anybody who suggests that an actor has to feel everything that they portray, then you’re talking to somebody who’s basically an amateur. Often it’s a way to punish actors. I think drama teachers do it sometimes to control students. To just stand there and say, ‘You’re not feeling it.’ How do you know I’m not feeling it? What am I supposed to be feeling? You don’t have to have been bereaved in order to act somebody who’s bereaved — otherwise, well, how would we proceed? Y’know, acting is acting.”
“Living” premieres in theaters December 23.
Check out the trailer below.