It's been a while since Steve McQueen made a film. The acclaimed director's most recent outing was in 2013, when the multi-Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave hit audiences hard with its stark portrayal of slavery in 19th century America. But after five years of waiting (doesn't it seem like much longer?), McQueen has finally decided to grace us with another.
Widows, a heist film set in modern day Chicago, follows four women who are forced to confront the criminal underworld head on, after their husbands all wind up dead following a failed heist. The phenomenal A-list cast includes Viola Davis and Liam Neeson (among many others), and the film looks to be one of the most compelling releases of 2018. Here's everything you need to know about Widows, due in Cineworld on 6th November.
It boasts an impressive cast
The first thing that strikes you about Widows is its mighty ensemble. Liam Neeson, Robert Duvall, Colin Farrell and John Bernthal all feature in the film, and regardless of whether or not they have much of a role to play, it's an impressive feat that they're all sharing a screen together.
But of course, the real stars here are the women – AKA the widows of the title. We have Oscar winner Viola Davis (The Help, Fences) as Veronica, Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast and the Furious, Avatar) as Linda, Elizabeth Debicki (The Night Manager, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) as Alice and Cynthia Erivo (Step, Bad Times at the El Royale) as Belle.
Granted, some of these actors are more established than others, but McQueen stated that he "just wanted great actor" in the film, regardless of their cinematic stature. McQueen's casting choices have all been on the money so far.
It's based on the 1983 television series of the same name
Hollywood has recently made a concerted effort to foreground roles for women, with films like Ghostbusters (2016) and Ocean's 8 (2018) eschewing its leading men in favour of an all-star array of leading ladies. But believe it or not, British TV was doing this decades ago. (C'mon, Hollywood, catch up!)
Yes, in 1983, TV show Widows first graced the small screen. Written by crime writer and Prime Suspect creator Lynda La Plante, it follows four British women who are forced to turn to a life of crime after their husbands die during a failed armed robbery. The show was hugely successful, spawning a second series with another six episodes. Judging by the trailers, the core plot of McQueen's 2018 adaptation stays true to the 1983 original, albeit updating the location to the mean streets of Chicago, rather than the original Liverpool setting.
Steve McQueen is directing
Although McQueen has come to the fore only in the last decade, he's actually been in the biz for a lot longer. He established himself as a Turner Prize-winning artist before making a whole slew of short films in the nineties and early noughties, eventually delving into feature films.
McQueen's feature-length filmography may be short, but it's easily one of the most impressive in modern cinema. His films Shame, a harrowing chronicle of sex addiction, Hunger, based on the true story of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands, and Solomon Northup biopic 12 Years a Slave, have all been huge critical successes, and have cemented his place as one of the most important directors of modern times.
All three movies featured extraordinary, mercurial performances from Michael Fassbender, and although the actor is absent in Widows, on past evidence, McQueen is sure to elicit strong performances from his cast. It goes without saying, then, that McQueen has the knowledge, experience and track record to ensure that Widows won't wind up as anything less than another masterpiece. With the movie set to open the 2018 London Film Festival, it's little wonder this is being poised for Oscar success.
Gillian Flynn is one of the screenwriters
Ever heard of a little film called Gone Girl? The David Fincher thriller starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike that took the box office by storm in 2014? Well, that film was based on a book written by Gillian Flynn, and it just so happens that Flynn is one of the two main screenwriters on Widows.
Flynn may be relatively new to the world of TV and film, but she's already earned her stripes, having written scripts for multiple television series and, of course, helping with the screenplay for Gone Girl. She possesses an extraordinary ability to imbue her writing with a palpable sense of suspense that makes you want to keep turning the page or, in the case of her TV shows and films, to keep watching on.
Oh, and in case you're wondering, the other screenwriter for Widows is McQueen himself. Talk about a quality pairing.
Hans Zimmer is providing the score
Steve McQueen, Gillian Flynn, Viola Davis, Liam Neeson… the pedigree of this film is quite overwhelming. It can't get any better, surely?
Actually, it can. If you haven't heard the Hans Zimmer name, you've definitely heard his music. Inception (2010), Interstellar (2014), Dunkirk (2017) and Gladiator (2000) are just some of the films the legendary German composer has produced music for. He also took home the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 1995 for his work on The Lion King (1994). He also collaborated with McQueen to powerful, Oscar-nominated effect on 12 Years a Slave.
Oh, and that Inception-style 'BRAAAM!' sound you hear in almost every movie trailer these days? All of that owes itself to the Zimmer sound. Zimmer will no doubt produce another outstanding score for Widows when it arrives later this year.
Widows is released on 6th November, so check out the new trailer below and tweet us your thoughts on the movie @Cineworld.
Liam Turner is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.