UPDATED, 9:22 a.m.: Searchlight Pictures has unveiled a new trailer for its romantic drama Empire of Light, starring Academy Award winner Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter) and BAFTA winner Micheal Ward (Top Boy), which is slated for release in U.S. theaters on December 9.
The latest awards contender from Oscar-winning writer-director Sam Mendes (1917) is set in and around a faded old cinema in an English coastal town in the early 1980s. Its protagonists are Hilary (Colman), a cinema manager struggling with her mental health, and Stephen (Ward), a new employee who longs to escape this provincial town in which he faces daily adversity. Both Hilary and Stephen find a sense of belonging through their unlikely and tender relationship and come to experience the healing power of music, cinema and community.
Read more about the film, which world premiered at Telluride in September, below. Watch the new trailer above.
PREVIOUSLY, AUGUAT 24: “Nothing happens without light,” says Toby Jones’ character at the end of the trailer for Sam Mendes’ latest, which has been billed as “love story set in and around a beautiful old cinema on the South Coast of England in the 1980s.”
Plot details on Empire Of Light have been scant. The trailer seems to relate the love between Olivia Colman’s character and that played by Micheal Ward with the magic of cinema.
“Film: It’s just static frames with darkness in between,” says Jones’ character in voiceover. “But there’s a little flaw in your optic nerve. So if I run the film at 24 frames per second, it creates an illusion of motion, an illusion of life. So you don’t see the darkness. Out there, they just see a beam of light. And nothing happens without light.”
Oscar winners Mendes and Colman team on the film with fellow Academy Award winners Colin Firth, cinematographer Roger Deakins and musicians Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
Such a metal-heavy cast and crew automatically generates awards buzz, and Searchlight is embracing it. Empire of Light will be shown at the Toronto International Film Festival next month and the BFI London Film Festival in October before being released on December 9.
This will mark Mendes’ first film since his Oscar-nominated 1917 and the first time he and Colman have worked together. The drama is written by Mendes, his first solo screenplay. He also produces.