Sam Mendes Sets ‘Small Axe: Lovers Rock’s Micheal Ward To Star Opposite Olivia Colman in Searchlight’s ‘Empire Of Light’

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EXCLUSIVE: After meeting with and auditioning a number actors, Searchlight drama Empire of Light directed by Sam Mendes has set Top Boy breakout Micheal Ward to join Olivia Colman. The film will mark Mendes first since his Oscar-winning World War I drama 1917 and he also penned the script and marks his first solo script. The film will be produced by Mendes and Pippa Harris’ Neal Street Productions. Production is expected to star in fall of 2022.

While plot details are under wraps, the film is described as love story, set in and around a beautiful old cinema, on the South Coast of England in the 1980s. Mendes will also reunite with his 1917 cinematographer Roger Deakins.

Mendes has been taking his time in finding Colman’s co-star and in recent weeks Ward began positioning himself as a choice for the role.

Winner of the 2020 EE BAFTA Rising Star Award, Ward recently starred in the highly anticipated Netflix series Top Boy. In the series, Ward plays one of the lead roles, Jamie, a young, hungry and ruthless gang leader who has taken over. The resurgence of Top Boy hit the headlines after it was announced Drake would executive produce the series on Netflix. He can most recently be seen in Lovers Rock which is the second episode of Steve McQueen’s anthology series, Small Axe, which premiered to rave reviews in November of 2020. Ward also has a supporting role in the upcoming Netflix film Beauty. The film is written by Lena Waithe and stars Giancarlo Esposito and Sharon Stone. A ‘Screen International Star of Tomorrow 2020’, He is currently shooting the next season of Top Boy for Netflix.

Source: deadline.com – Sam Mendes Sets ‘Small Axe: Lovers Rock’s Micheal Ward To Star Opposite Olivia Colman in Searchlight’s ‘Empire Of Light’

Olivia Colman’s next big film role revealed

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Olivia Colman is currently enjoying the aftermath of her awards season success thanks to her many nominations at this year’s Golden Globes and the upcoming BAFTA and Academy Awards, but the actress is already gearing up for her next big project.

The Oscar-winner, who is beloved for her many credits including The Crown, Broadchurch and The Favourite, will be starring as the lead in Sam Mendes’ upcoming blockbuster, Empire of Light.

It’s not yet confirmed who Olivia will be playing, but the film itself marks a special milestone as Sam Mendes, the director behind Skyfall and 2020 awards season giant 1917, has penned the film without a co-writer for the first time and is reportedly thrilled to have Olivia on board.

According to Deadline, the movie is described as a romantic story set around an old cinema in the South coast of England in the 1980s. We can’t wait to hear more!

The James Bond director said in a statement: “I have long been an admirer of Searchlight and the dynamic way they have produced and released some of my favourite theatrical releases of recent years. This project is very close to my heart, and I couldn’t be more delighted that it has found its ideal home.”

Meanwhile, Olivia is hoping to win big at this year’s Academy Awards. The actress is nominated in the Supporting Actress category for her role as Anne in The Father which also stars Anthony Hopkins and Mark Gatiss.

Olivia also received a nod at this year’s Golden Globes in the same category, however she lost out to Jodie Foster who won for her part in The Mauritanian.

Olivia was also nominated in the TV category for her part as Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix’s huge hit, The Crown. The actress’ nomination was no doubt bittersweet as it marked ending her time on the streaming series on a high before waving goodbye to her role as the monarch. In the show’s upcoming fifth season, Imelda Staunton will be taking over the play Her Majesty in the next chapter of the drama.

source: hellomagazine.com – Olivia Colman’s next big film role revealed