‘Louis Wain’: Stacy Martin, Sharon Rooney, Hayley Squires & Aimee Lou Wood Join Biopic As First-Look Unveiled

Stacy Martin (Nymphomaniac), Sharon Rooney (Dumbo), Hayley Squires (I, Daniel Blake) and Aimee Lou Wood (Sex Education) have joined the cast of Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy-fronted biopic Louis Wain.

The first look of the feature, which also stars Andrea Riseborough and Toby Jones, has also been revealed.

The quartet play Wain’s eccentric sisters, while Adeel Akhtar (The Big Sick), Julian Barratt (Mindhorn) and Asim Chaudhry (People Just Do Nothing) round out the cast.

Wain was an English artist who lived between 1860-1939 and is best known for his drawings, which consistently featured anthropomorphized large-eyed cats and kittens. In his later years he may have suffered from schizophrenia (although some specialists dispute this claim), which, according to some psychiatrists, can be seen in his work.

Directed by BAFTA-nominated UK director Will Sharpe (Flowers) and written by Sharpe and Simon Stephenson, the film is being produced by Guy Heeley (Swimming With Men) and Adam Ackland (Patrick Melrose) with Ed Clarke and Leah Clarke. Behind the movie are StudioCanal, SunnyMarch, Shoebox, Film4 and Amazon Studios.

At the age of 23, Wain married his sisters’ governess, Emily Richardson (Foy), who was ten years his senior. The marriage was considered somewhat scandalous at the time due to the age difference. He moved with her to Hampstead in north London but Emily soon began to suffer from breast cancer and died three years into their marriage. Prior to Emily’s death, Wain discovered the subject that would define his career. During her illness, Emily was comforted by their pet cat Peter, a stray black and white kitten they had rescued after hearing him mewing in the rain one night.

Despite his popularity, Wain suffered financial difficulty throughout his life. He remained responsible for supporting his mother and sisters and had little business sense. He often sold his drawings outright, retaining no rights over their reproduction.

Studiocanal will release the film in their territories UK, France Germany, Australia/NZ and is selling international. Amazon will release in the U.S.

Vivendi-owned Studiocanal has a 20% stake in Cumberbatch’s production company SunnyMarch. The project marks UK director Sharpe’s third feature after 2011 pic Black Pond and 2016 movie The Darkest Universe. TV work includes Kudos drama Flowers with Olivia Colman.

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