Arts & Culture

Olivia Colman Plays (Another) British Queen in the Upcoming Drama The Favourite

Here's what we know about the film so far.

Olivia Colman is clearly a natural at playing British monarchs. It was announced this year that she will take on the role of Queen Elizabeth in seasons 3 and 4 of The Crown and in the upcoming film, The Favourite, Colman will take on the lead role of the frail and unpredictable Queen Anne.

The period drama is directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, whose earlier films include The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer, and is set during Anne's reign in the early 18th century. While the Queen struggles with her failing health, one of her closest confidants, Lady Sarah (played by Rachel Weisz), takes on the task of governing the country while also tending to Anne's growing demands. Sarah's cousin Abigail Masham (played by Emma Stone) arrives to serve the Queen and a bitter rivalry ensues.

The ill-tempered depiction of Queen Anne might not be too far off from what she was really like in her later years. The New York Times notes that "consensus has it that 'Brandy Nan' was obese and of limited intelligence, with a predilection for the bottle."

And while both Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough and Abigail Masham were real figures in Queen Ann's reign (with an outsized influence over British politics), the film promises to be much more than a staid period drama. Lanthimos is known for his off-kilter and funny films and Weisz has described The Favourite as being "a little bit like All About Eve."

Emma Stone stars in The Favourite.

Although we're still waiting for the official trailer to be released, this teaser gets us plenty excited to head to the theaters this fall. The period drama will premiere at the BFI London Film Festival in the U.K. on October 18 and will hit U.S. theaters on November 23.


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* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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