Focus Features Takes Churchill Biopic Darkest Hour, Starring Gary Oldman
Continuing creative collaborations that began over a decade ago, premier specialty label Focus Features is reteaming with both Working Title Films and director Joe Wright on Darkest Hour. Focus will hold worldwide rights to the film as part of the company’s renewed global initiative; Focus will release Darkest Hour domestically on November 24, 2017 in the U.S. and Universal Pictures International (UPI) will distribute the film around the world, beginning with the U.K. on December 29, 2017. Production on Darkest Hour begins this fall.
Wright will direct Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour. The original screenplay is by Anthony McCarten, an Academy Award nominee and BAFTA Award winner as screenwriter of Focus and Working Title’s The Theory of Everything. McCarten is producing Darkest Hour with Lisa Bruce and Working Title co-chairs Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, all of whom were Academy Award-nominated as producers of Best Picture Oscar nominee The Theory of Everything. Oldman was a Best Actor Academy Award nominee for Focus and Working Title’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
Within days of becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill must face one of his most turbulent and defining trials: exploring a negotiated peace treaty with Nazi Germany, or standing firm to fight for the ideals, liberty and freedom of a nation. As the unstoppable Nazi forces roll across Western Europe and the threat of invasion is imminent, and with an unprepared public, a skeptical King, and his own party plotting against him, Churchill must withstand his darkest hour, rally a nation, and attempt to change the course of world history.
Joining Oldman in the cast are Academy Award nominee John Hurt as Neville Chamberlain, whom Churchill succeeded as Prime Minister; Lily James (“Downton Abbey,” Cinderella) as Churchill’s personal secretary; Golden Globe Award nominee Ben Mendelsohn as King George VI; and Academy Award nominee Kristin Scott Thomas as Churchill’s wife, Clementine.
Wright, a BAFTA Award winner, is making his fourth feature with Working Title and Focus; the director’s previous films with the companies were Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, and Anna Karenina, which combined won two Academy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and four BAFTA Awards. He also directed for Focus the hit thriller Hanna, starring Saoirse Ronan.
Focus chairman Peter Kujawski commented, “Everyone at Focus is proud to be the longtime home to Joe Wright and our partners at Working Title, and thrilled to once again be working with the gifted Anthony McCarten and the legendary Gary Oldman. ‘Darkest Hour’ is about a visionary leader who stood firm in the face of tremendous pressure to abandon his unique point of view on the world, so it is fitting that his story will be told by these visionary filmmakers.”
(Photo Credit: WENN.com)