56th New York Film Festival to Open With Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favourite”

The Favourite film
Emma Stone as Abigail Masham, Baroness Masham, in “The Favourite” film (2018)

The Favourite,” a strangely touching and outrageous period dramedy filmed at Hertfordshire, England, starring Emma Stone, Olivia Colman, and Rachel Weisz, is the latest project of Greek artist Yorgos Lanthimos that will serve as the opening night film during the New York Film Festival (NYFF) on September 28, 2018.

Scarlet Films, Element Pictures, Film4 Productions, and Waypoint Entertainment partnered for the production of the unapologetically twisted new creation of film director Yorgos Lanthimos. This “bawdy, acerbic tale of royal intrigue, passion, envy, and betrayal” is scheduled to premiere in the US on November 23, 2018, by Fox Searchlight Pictures.

The movie, the screenplay of which is written by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara, is set in the 18th-century court of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), in the midst of England’s war with France. Queen’s close friend Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz) and servant Abigail Masham (Emma Stone) are scheming for influence and power over a ruler who’s prone to a mercurial temper.

Rachel Weisz as Sarah Churchill and Olivia Colman as Queen Anne in
Rachel Weisz as Sarah Churchill and Olivia Colman as Queen Anne in “The Favourite” film (2018).

Olivia Colman and Rachel Weisz have already teamed with Lanthimos joining the cast of his 2015 dystopian black comedy film “The Lobster.” In the acclaimed Greek filmmaker’s most recent feature Nicholas Hoult, Joe Alwyn, James Smith, Mark Gatiss and Jenny Rainsford are also on board.

“The Favourite” film (2018) poster.

Yorgos Lanthimos has introduced himself to art audiences worldwide as a master of provocation through his thought-inducing and disturbing creations; the pitch-dark portrait of a bizarre family in “Dogtooth,” the quirky drama film “Alps,” and the psychological thriller “The Killing of a Sacred Deer.”

However, in “The Favourite” film, Lanthimos is a bit more straightforward than in his other films, as he concedes. “Because of the prevalent male gaze in cinema, women are portrayed as housewives, girlfriends… Our small contribution is we’re just trying to show them as complex and wonderful and horrific as they are, like other human beings.”

The 120-minute film of Yorgos Lanthimos had its world premiere at the 75th Venice International Film Festival on August 30, 2018, while it will be released broadly in cinemas on January 1, 2019.