Olivia Colman in talks for Sam Mendes’ romance drama Empire of Light
Over a year after the critical and box office success of 1917, acclaimed director Sam Mendes has finally found his next major directing project in the form of a romantic drama film titled Empire of Light. Searchlight Pictures has officially boarded the project, with Academy Award-winning actress Olivia Colman in negotiations to lead the feature.
Should the deal push through, Empire of Light will be the British actress’ latest collaboration with Searchlight after 2018’s The Favourite. In addition, this will also mark the reunion project between Mendes and cinematographer Roger Deakins, who earned his second Oscar for his work on 1917.
“I have long been an admirer of Searchlight and the dynamic way they have produced and released some of my favorite theatrical releases of recent years,” Mendes said in a statement (via The Wrap). “This project is very close to my heart, and I couldn’t be more delighted that it has found its ideal home.”
Empire of Light is being described as a love story that will be set in and around a beautiful old cinema on the South Coast of England. The film will be directed by Mendes from a screenplay he wrote. The studio is currently planning to release the film in the fall of 2022.
“Sam has written an exquisite cinematic drama that captured our hearts from page one. He is a masterful filmmaker, and we look forward to working with him, Pippa, and Roger and to reunite with the great Olivia on this truly special film,” Searchlight’s David Greenbaum and Matthew Greenfield said.
Mendes and Pippa Harris are set to produce through their Neal Street Productions. The project will be overseen by Searchlight’s Presidents of Production, Film and Television Matthew Greenfield and David Greenbaum along with Searchlight Pictures UK’s Head of Development & Production, Katie Goodson-Thomas.
Olivia Colman first gained recognition for her critically-acclaimed performances in TV shows such as The Night Manager and Fleabag with the first one earning her, her first Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Miniseries. For her performance in Yorgos Lanthimos’ black comedy film The Favourite, she won her first Oscar Award for Best Actress and her second Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture-Musical or Comedy.
She will next be seen in drama films such as Maggie Gyllenhaal’s The Lost Daughter and the Eva Husson’s Mothering Sunday as well as Netflix and Sony’s animated film, The Mitchells vs. the Machines which is set to premiere later this month.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)