Fox Searchlight has officially set the release date for Amma Asante’s period drama Belle, for May 2, 2014. As of the time of this post, the only other film opening that weekend is The Amazing Spider-Man 2. I suppose Belle should provide some counter-programming options for those who aren’t keen on the web-slinger.
Of course, dates can always change.
The period drama about the trials and tribulations of a mixed-race girl, in the 1700s, will make its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
It stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Miranda Richardson, Tom Wilkinson, Sarah Gadon, Sam Claflin, and Matthew Goode.
The story takes place in the 1780s, and is based on a true story – specifically, the true story of Dido Belle, a mixed-race woman raised as an aristocrat in 18th-century England. It follows Belle, adopted into an aristocratic family, who faces class and color prejudices. As she blossoms into a young woman, she develops a relationship with a vicar’s son who is an advocate for slave emancipation.
Her full name was Dido Elizabeth Belle, born 1761, died 1804; she was the illegitimate daughter of John Lindsay (a white British Naval officer) and an African slave woman known only as Belle.
Mbatha-Raw is of course playing the lead role.
The project, which we’ve been following for about a year now, since it was first announced overseas, was developed and supported by the British Film Institute.
It also co-stars Tom Felton (from the Harry Potter movies), Sam Reid (playing Belle’s love interest), James Norton and Penelope Wilton (Downton Abbey).
Misan Sagay penned the script; Damian Jones produced.
And now the wait for the film’s first trailer begins… but until it arrives, these new photos from the film will have to hold you over: