Winston Churchill is widely regarded as one of the greatest ever Britons. The Prime Minister who saw the United Kingdom through World War II, his speeches have ascended to legendary status and he recently took pride position on the £5 note. Unsurprisingly, he’s been the subject of a lot of dramatizations over the years and a bit part in many, many more (and even served as inspiration for an alien in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story). The latest high-profile case was John Lithgow in The Crown, but before Season 2 of the show returns another lauded actor’s taking on the mantle.
The simply-titled Churchill sees Brian Cox playing Winston around the pivotal D-Day landings, racked with guilt over the risky strategy and in a constant battle for control. Directed by Jonathan Teplitzky, the film provides some strong support in the form of Miranda Richardson as Churchill’s wife, Clementine, John Slattery as future US President Dwight D. Eisenhower and James Purefoy as King George VI.
Lionsgate has released a new trailer for Churchill that provides a taste of the story, its conflicts and, most importantly, its performances. Check it out above.
The key point of interest with the film is, of course, Cox as Churchill, and the trailer doesn’t shy away from showing the goods; there’s a full range of emotions present in his performance, from the confident Churchill seen publicly to a man racked with self-doubt in private. The highlight is an excerpt from the iconic “We Shall Fight on the Beaches” speech that ends the trailer, with Cox giving the full, forceful weight to the lines that suggest he’s ideal casting.
Beyond the acting, the film looks to be the typical British period biopic, although there are a few moments of intrigue in there. A black-and-white shot of Churchill walking through a ravaged battlefield with his cane is particularly captivating, suggesting at least some level of creative verve; it would presumably be part of a dream sequence.
This isn’t the only biopic focusing on Winston Churchill arriving in cinemas this year; just a few months after Churchill comes Darkest Hour, with Gary Oldman in the central role. The reveal of the actor in make-up caused quite a stir late last year, with the typically chameleon Oldman totally unrecognizable as the former Prime Minster. Joe Wright’s film will likewise focus on Churchill’s war years, and has an awards-friendly release date suggesting this take may be circling Oscar glory.
While that’s definite competition, both films offer enough worth in their respective performances to stand out. Indeed, based on the trailer, Churchill will be one to keep an eye on.