Anyone who read and enjoyed Tom Rob Smith’s period thriller novel Child 44, set in Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union, was likely thrilled when Locke star Tom Hardy landed the lead role of disgraced MGB agent Leo Demidov, who investigates a long string of grisly child murders. Physically, it was pretty damn perfect casting, and it also fueled fans’ hopes that director Daniel Espinosa wouldn’t be toning down the book’s violent, disturbing content. After all, Hardy has built his career playing complex, disturbed individuals (see his stellar work in Bronson).
Now, we finally know when we’ll find out whether Hardy nailed the role – and more importantly, whether the other main storytelling strengths of Child 44 have survived the trip to the big screen, as Summit has just set the thriller to open on April 17th, 2015.
Noomi Rapace and Joel Kinnaman also star in Child 44 along with Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, Vincent Cassel, Dev Patel and Paddy Considine. That’s an extremely impressive line-up of actors, and it’s particularly exciting to see that Hardy and Rapace will be teaming up for the second time (the pair also star in this fall’s Animal Rescue, another gritty crime thriller).
I’d highly recommend reading Smith’s novel if you haven’t already, but for those of you who just don’t have the time right now, here’s the official synopsis:
Stalin’s Soviet Union is an official paradise, where citizens live free from crime and fear only one thing: the all-powerful state. Defending this system is idealistic security officer Leo Demidov, a war hero who believes in the iron fist of the law. But when a murderer starts to kill at will and Leo dares to investigate, the State’s obedient servant finds himself demoted and exiled. Now, with only his wife at his side, Leo must fight to uncover shocking truths about a killer-and a country where “crime” doesn’t exist.
Richard Price (The Wire) adapted Smith’s novel for the film, but early signs indicate that Child 44 will be hewing pretty closely to the author’s original vision. However, even if Price does diverge from the source material, with Hardy, Rapace, Clarke and Oldman in the cast, this one should be on your must-see list anyway.
Child 44 opens on April 17th, 2015.