Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
First Look: Emilia Clarke, Matt Smith & Jason Clarke In 'Terminator: Genisys,' Plot Details Revealed First Look: Emilia Clarke, Matt Smith & Jason Clarke In 'Terminator: Genisys,' Plot Details Revealed Marvel Announces 'Black Panther,' 'Captain Marvel,' Two-Part 'Avengers: Infinity War' And More Marvel Announces 'Black Panther,' 'Captain Marvel,' Two-Part 'Avengers: Infinity War' And More 8 Films That Influenced Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' 8 Films That Influenced Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Exclusive: Sean Durkin Directed Video For Sharon Van Etten's "Your Love Is Killing Me" Exclusive: Sean Durkin Directed Video For Sharon Van Etten's "Your Love Is Killing Me" Listen: 1-Hour Masterclass With Paul Thomas Anderson At The New York Film Festival Listen: 1-Hour Masterclass With Paul Thomas Anderson At The New York Film Festival Benedict Cumberbatch Is Marvel's 'Doctor Strange' Benedict Cumberbatch Is Marvel's 'Doctor Strange' Review: Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway & More Review: Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway & More Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Series Finale — Season 5, Episode 8 ‘Eldorado’ Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Series Finale — Season 5, Episode 8 ‘Eldorado’ Watch: A Twisted Jake Gyllenhaal Crosses The Line In Wicked Red Band Trailer For ‘Nightcrawler’ Watch: A Twisted Jake Gyllenhaal Crosses The Line In Wicked Red Band Trailer For ‘Nightcrawler’ Watch: 'The Invisible Man,' A 50-Minute Documentary On The Life And Career Of Stanley Kubrick Watch: 'The Invisible Man,' A 50-Minute Documentary On The Life And Career Of Stanley Kubrick Seth Rogen, Megan Fox, Will Ferrell, Danny McBride, Dave Franco And More Join James Franco’s 'Zeroville' Seth Rogen, Megan Fox, Will Ferrell, Danny McBride, Dave Franco And More Join James Franco’s 'Zeroville' 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' Will Conclude With A 45-Minute Battle Sequence 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' Will Conclude With A 45-Minute Battle Sequence 10 Great Self-Absorbed, Narcissistic Movie Assholes 10 Great Self-Absorbed, Narcissistic Movie Assholes Kristen Stewart Says She's Taking "Time Off" From Acting To Pursue Other "Creative Endeavors" Kristen Stewart Says She's Taking "Time Off" From Acting To Pursue Other "Creative Endeavors" Watch: Zach Galifianakis Takes On Brad Pitt In Latest 'Between Two Ferns' Plus Louis C.K. Stops By Watch: Zach Galifianakis Takes On Brad Pitt In Latest 'Between Two Ferns' Plus Louis C.K. Stops By Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes

Fox Searchlight Pick Up Amma Asante's Period Drama 'Belle' Starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw & Tom Wilkinson

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist July 1, 2013 at 3:25PM

Though it went mostly underseen in the U.S. , Amma Asante's 2004 film "A Way Of Life" was one of the best debut films by a British director in the last decade. A tough, powerful Wales-set drama with a brace of deeply moving performances, it won Asante the BAFTA Carl Foreman award for best debut by a British filmmaker as well as top prizes from the London and Miami Film Festivals, and marked the writer-director as a serious talent to watch.
1
"Belle"
"Belle"

Though it went mostly underseen in the U.S. , Amma Asante's 2004 film "A Way Of Life" was one of the best debut films by a British director in the last decade. A tough, powerful Wales-set drama with a brace of deeply moving performances, it won Asante the BAFTA Carl Foreman award for best debut by a British filmmaker as well as top prizes from the London and Miami Film Festivals, and marked the writer-director as a serious talent to watch.

It's taken a little while, but Asante is back with a new film, "Belle," and it looks set to reach a much larger audience than its predecessor, as Fox Searchlight have announced that they've picked up theatrical rights in the U.S., the U.K. and much of the rest of the world. The film's based on the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the mixed-race illegitimate daughter of an admiral in the 18th century, raised in an aristocratic background by her great-uncle Lord Mansfield, but simultaneously left a pariah because of the color of her skin. But her romance with a vicar's son helps her to become something of an instigator in bringing down slavery in Britain.

Asante's assembled an ace cast, including Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson, Sarah Gadon, Tom Felton, Matthew Goode, Miranda Richardson, Penelope Wilton, Sam Reid and James Northcote, with the title role taken by "Undercovers" and "Larry Crowne" star Gugu Mbatha-Raw, in what we hear is a star-making performance. The studio say that, "Gugu Mbatha-Raw is a revelation as Belle, she gives a brave and powerful performance joined by an outstanding ensemble cast and we look forward to introducing her to film audiences everywhere.  We were entranced by this inspiring story of love and perseverance during a time of significant social and legal changes,” while Asante comments: "The experience and sensibilities of the team at Fox Searchlight make it a wonderful match for 'Belle.' I am so pleased their passion for this film means it now has the ability to be seen by audiences worldwide. We've worked hard to turn historical facts of the life of a true pioneer into a compelling and moving cinema experience.”

The studio are currently eying a spring 2014 release for the picture -- presumably in a similar slot to the one that proved so successful for "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" a few years back -- but we wouldn't be surprised at all to see it somewhere on the fall festival circuit. Given the quality of Asante's previous picture, we're definitely going to be keeping a keen eye on it from here on out.


This article is related to: Amma Asante, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Belle, Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson, Sarah Gadon, Matthew Goode, Tom Felton, Fox Searchlight Pictures


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates