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Leigh premieres his J.M.W. Turner biopic at Cannes

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JAKE COYLE | May 15, 2014 07:24 AM EST | AP


CANNES, France (AP) — The stormy seas and fiery skies of J.M.W. Turner have been brought to the big screen in Mike Leigh's biopic of the British painter.

Leigh's "Mr. Turner" premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday to excellent reviews and raves for Timothy Spall, who stars as Turner. The 57-year-old actor is most widely known in the United States for playing Mr. Pettigrew in the "Harry Potter" films, but this film gives him a leading man turn.

Spall said he was a perfect match because Turner "was a funny-looking, fat little man, and so am I."

"Mr. Turner," which Sony Pictures Classics will release in North America in December, is in the hunt for Cannes' top award, the Palme d'Or. Leigh has won it before, for 1996's "Secrets & Lies."