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Sam Mendes' upcoming romantic drama casts Olivia Colman as lead

Olivia Colman in Fleabag
(Image credit: BBC)

Sam Mendes has set his next project – the filmmaker will write and direct the romantic drama Empire of Light, with Olivia Colman in talks to star in the lead role. Set in the '80s, the movie will be set in and around an old theater on the south coast of England.

This will be Mendes' first movie since his Oscar-winning war drama 1917, which starred George McKay and Dean-Charles Chapman as two young soldiers on a dangerous mission to deliver an important message to call off a doomed offensive attack. The movie received 10 Oscar nominations after it was released in 2019, including a Best Director nod for Mendes. It took home three awards, including Best Cinematography, and the upcoming Empire of Light will see Mendes reteam with 1917 cinematographer Roger Deakins. 

Before 1917, Mendes helmed two Daniel Craig-fronted James Bond movies, Skyfall and Spectre. He made his directorial debut back in 1999 with American Beauty, which he followed up with Road to Perdition and Jarhead.

Colman, meanwhile, was last seen in the Academy Award-nominated drama The Father opposite Anthony Hopkins. Her other acting credits include an Oscar-winning turn as Queen Anne in The Favourite, as well as roles in Murder on the Orient Express and The Lobster. On the small screen, she's appeared alongside Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag and as Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix series The Crown.

While we wait for Empire of Light to hit the big screen, check out our list of the upcoming movies to get excited about in 2021 and beyond.