Annette Bening originally turned down Hope Gap role

Annette Bening regretted her decision soon after.

Annette Bening initially turned down her role in Hope Gap because she thought it was too wordy.

The American Beauty actress stars in the British drama as a woman whose husband, played by Bill Nighy, abruptly leaves her after 30 years of marriage to start a new life with someone else.

Director William Nicholson, who based the movie on events from his own life, reached out to her via a letter to ask her to play Grace, a role inspired by his mother, in Hope Gap, but she passed because she didn't want to criticise his script.

"I thought it was really strong and original, painful, very well-written, but I couldn't make it work as a film because I thought there were too many words," she told the PA news agency. "The director, Bill Nicholson, had written me a beautiful and very thoughtful letter and talked about how it was based on his own life, and my instinct at the moment was 'I cannot tell this man that I think there are too many words, that is rude and presumptuous, so the better thing to do is just to pass.'"

However, Bening regretted her decision and decided to call up Nicholson and explain herself.

"Then about a week later I thought to myself, 'That was so stupid, why did I do that? I should have just called him up'. So I did," she recalled. "I just picked up the phone and called him and told him my concern, and he said 'Of course, don't worry'. He's a very charming man, and so we ended up meeting halfway in New York and we just went from there."

The Crown star Josh O'Connor plays the role inspired by Nicholson himself in Hope Gap, which is in U.K. cinemas now

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