Bill Nicholson "never believed" his new film 'Breathe' would be selected to open the BFI London Film Festival 2017.
The 69-year-old screenwriter has penned a number of big Hollywood blockbusters, including Sir Ridley Scott's Roman epic 'Gladiator', and Nicholson penned the new biopic which tells the true story of Robin Cavendish who, after being paralysed from the neck down by polio and being told he only had three months to live, defied medical advice and devoted the rest of his life to help fellow patients and campaign for disabled rights.
Although Nicholson totally believed in the project he never thought 'Breathe' would be handed the honour of opening the annual movie event.
Speaking exclusively to BANG Showbiz at the BFI London Film Festival 2017 Opening Gala Night in London's Leicester Square on Wednesday night (04.10.17), Nicholson said: "We never believed it would come to this. We thought it was just a little proud story. It didn't cost a huge amount to make and it isn't a blockbuster but people keep saying to me, because I've worked on many epic films, 'Why go from an epic to this?' When my answer is, 'This is an epic but it's an epic of feeling and emotion. That's what makes films work.
"I believe it belongs here and belongs on the big stage. It is amazingly shot, with a remarkable cinematographer and it really looks a million dollars."
'Breathe' stars Andrew Garfield as Robin along with Claire Foy as his wife Diana and was produced by Jonathan Cavendish - the real life son of the inspirational man - and Bill revealed the producer was with him "every step of the way".
He said: "Of course, it's sort of his story. He was with me every step of the way. I was so proud to be part of delivering for him and his mother something that they like and approve it. I was very nervous about doing it because I thought I would screw it up because it's his life. I don't want to screw up someone's life. So, I said to him, 'Don't pay me and don't put a contract on it, and we will see how it goes,' and that's how we did it."
Jonathan runs production company The Imaginarium Studios with 'Planet of the Apes' star Andy Serkis, who makes his directorial debut on the movie.