“Keep calm and carry on” is one of the most famous adages from Winston Churchill (1874-1965), Britain’s burly prime minister during World War II. But in this new drama, opening on June 2 from distributor Cohen Media Group, the iconic figure is struggling to find serenity in the face of incalculable chaos — and battling his own personal demons in addition to Hitler’s army.
Churchill is set in the do-or-die historical period right before the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944. As the title character — a role which has been played in the past by Albert Finney, Brendan Gleeson, Timothy Spall, Richard Burton, John Lithgow, Michael Gambon, and later this year by Gary Oldman — the film has cast the brilliant veteran actor Brian Cox, seen here with two-time Oscar nominee Miranda Richardson as Churchill’s feisty wife, Clementine.
Cox, whose 50 years of credits include Manhunter (as Hannibal Lecter), X2, Zodiac, L.I.E., Deadwood, and Adaptation, prepared for the role by gaining about 20 pounds, shaving his head, and wrapping his mouth around a number of Cuban cigars.
John Slattery (Mad Men) takes on another great-man part, albeit from the opposite side of the pond, as American general and future president Dwight D. Eisenhower (seen below), who grows increasingly frustrated with Churchill’s reluctance to go forward with the invasion.
“To work with actors of the caliber of Brian Cox, Miranda Richardson, John Slattery was both a privilege and transcendent experience for me,” says director Jonathan Teplitzky (The Railway Man). “They bought their intelligence, experience, talent, and trust, which not only gave their respective characters great depth and complexity, but more so, gave a poignancy that has elevated and bought the film to life in a very emotional and dramatic way.”
Teplitzky adds, “To work with Brian, Miranda, and John is not simply a masterclass in acting, but a dynamic creative process in which to fully challenge and explore the complexities of both the characters and the drama in a way which hopefully allows me to tell our story.”
Churchill‘s opening on June 2 is intended to coincide with the 72nd anniversary of the D-Day invasion. Stay tuned here for more details on the film.