Working Title has narrowed its search for a director to take the reins of Winston Churchill biopic Darkest Hour, with Deadline reporting that Joe Wright has emerged as an early frontrunner.
Should a deal fall into place, Wright – known for Atonement, Pride & Prejudice and more recently, Warner Bros. flop Pan – would reunite with long-time scripting partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, telling the tale of Churchill becoming Prime Minister during the throes of World War II. The Theory of Everything scribe Anthony McCarten is also attached to the biopic, with Working Title’s Lisa Bruce assuming producing duties alongside Bevan and Fellner.
Having laid out an enviable roster of talent behind the lens, top priority for Darkest Hour now will be casting an actor as the great Prime Minister. Taking a bold stand against Adolf Hitler and a Third Reich at the height of its power, Churchill proved instrumental in not only marshalling the Allies to the frontlines, but ensuring that the UK population remained in relatively safe hands during its, well, Darkest Hour – most notably with the “then what are we fighting for?” line when asked to cut the arts to fund the war effort overseas.
Speaking previously about the biopic, McCarten pitched the project as “a new portrait that shows all his famous strengths but also adds new dimensions, such as the grave doubts he privately harbored, the dark moods that would seize him unexpectedly and his fear of failure, a driving force that is often is left out of any discussion of the man.”
Production for Darkest Hour has been tentatively slated for a July start. Ducking out of the blockbuster scene for the time being following the disappointment of Pan, next on Joe Wright’s calling card is an episode of Charlie Brooker’s anthology series Black Mirror, with his particular installment set to feature Bryce Dallas Howard and Alice Eve.