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Lionsgate Slots Tom Hardy Russia Thriller for Spring

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood July 15, 2014 at 8:00AM

What does it signify that Lionsgate and Summit are slotting director Daniel Espinosa's "Child 44" for spring release (April 17, 2015)? Given that Tom Hardy--probably the most exciting young actor working today--is not yet a guaranteed box office draw (see "Warriors," "Locke"), Lionsgate may have wanted to use the award season as a springboard for a complex World War II period thriller set in Stalinist Russia that is by no means a guaranteed commercial hit. (What is these days?)
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Oldman and Hardy in Russia Thriller 'Child 44'
Oldman and Hardy in Russia Thriller 'Child 44'
What does it signify that Lionsgate and Summit are slotting director Daniel Espinosa's "Child 44" for spring release (April 17, 2015)? Given that Tom Hardy--probably the most exciting young actor working today--is not yet a guaranteed box office draw (see "Warriors," "Locke"), Lionsgate may have wanted to use the award season as a springboard for a complex World War II period thriller set in Stalinist Russia that is by no means a guaranteed commercial hit. (What is these days?)

 
In the foreign-financed film, adapted by Richard Price from Tom Rob Smith's 2008 bestseller, Hardy plays hard-ass MGB agent Leo Domidov, who's tough on traitors (one is played byJason Clarke), at least until he and his wife (Noomi Rapace) fall under suspicion by his boss (Vincent Cassel) and careerist colleague (Joel Kinnaman). Meanwhile Domidov convinces a reluctant rural cop (Gary Oldman) to help investigate an actual serial child killer--who is of no interest to The State.

Swedish Espinosa, who attended film school in Denmark, has chops to spare ("Safe House," "Easy Money") and is trying to break out of safe action fare. Lionsgate is giving him more time to fashion a strong picture without worrying about awards season.

Producers are Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer, and Greg Shapiro.

This article is related to: Tom Hardy, Joel Kinnaman, Noomi Rapace, Noomi Rapace


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.