Celebrated British director Mike Leigh was last in the headlines for 2010’s Another Year, but buzz that has been building since this year’s Cannes Film Festival suggests the helmer may be unveiling his greatest accomplishment to date this fall with Mr. Turner. At first glance, the biopic of artist J.M.W. Turner seems like an odd project for Leigh – but then one sees that Timothy Spall, a long-time Leigh collaborator, is in the title role, and it all starts to make a little more sense.
With Mr. Turner heating up the festival circuit at the moment, having screened at the Telluride Film Festival over the weekend and been slotted for the upcoming Toronto International and New York Film Festivals, Sony Pictures Classics has released a new trailer.
Though there’s not much new information about the project, the preview does paint a rather exciting picture of what audiences can expect from Mr. Turner. Spall looks absolutely terrific in the lead role (many have opined that this role will bring the respected actor some major awards attention), and Leigh’s distinctive blend of visual ambition and intimate storytelling is clearly communicated.
Mr. Turner will open on December 19th in order to qualify for the Academy Awards before expanding early next year.
MR. TURNER explores the last quarter century of the great if eccentric British painter J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851). Profoundly affected by the death of his father and loved by a housekeeper he takes for granted and occasionally exploits sexually, he forms a close relationship with a seaside landlady with whom he eventually lives incognito in Chelsea. Throughout this, he travels, paints, stays with the country aristocracy, visits brothels, is a popular if anarchic member of the Royal Academy of Arts, has himself strapped to the mast of a ship so that he can paint a snowstorm, and is both celebrated and reviled by the public and by royalty.
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