Director Joe Wright is teaming once more with Focus Features to release his upcoming film about Winston Churchill, DARKEST HOUR. The film, which Gary Oldman has been attached to star in as Churchill since April, will be released on November 24, 2017 in the U.S. and December 29, 2017 in the U.K. (with Universal Pictures International handling the distribution worldwide). It’s set to begin filming in the fall and has added several big-name stars to its cast as well.
The release dates are notable as they place the film directly in next year’s awards season — not to mention the film is a historical biopic, helmed by and starring Hollywood figures who have received multiple nominations throughout each of their careers (Wright and Oldman, who many say is overdue for an Oscar).
Churchill became Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1940 and almost immediately sent a British fleet of more than 800 boats to rescue 335,000 soldiers from the German army on the shores of Dunkirk in France (the subject of fellow English director Christopher Nolan’s next film, aptly titled Dunkirk and set to come out next summer). The film’s title derives from a phrase from Churchill himself, describing the time period of World War II between France’s fall to Germany in 1940 and the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. During this time, Britain had lost its allies and stood alone against Germany, suffering from the threat of invasion and bombings.
The new cast members of the film include John Hurt (Snowpiercer, Harry Potter) as Neville Chamberlin, the Prime Minister before Churchill; Lily James (Cinderella) as Churchill’s secretary; Ben Mendelsohn (Rogue One) as King George VI; and Kristin Scott Thomas (The Invisible Woman) as Clementine, Churchill’s wife.
Oscar-nominated writer and producer of The Theory of Everything Anthony McCarten is writing the script for this period drama, as well as producing. Working Title Films is the production company for the film with co-chiefs Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner also producing alongside Lisa Bruce.
Previously, Wright has produced and released his films Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, and Anna Karenina with Working Title and Focus Features.
Anya Crittenton | Associate Editor