Look ahead to the UK films coming out in 2013 and you’ll see a diverse landscape of filmmakers, genres, actors, budgets and ideas. Next year brings us something new from Joanna Hogg, and something else from Danny Dyer. Irvine Welsh’s Filth will almost certainly live up to its title, but the Absolutely Fabulous film? We’ll see.
Al Pacino’s playing King Lear, and Stephen Mangan’s playing Postman Pat. Shane Meadows is making a film about the Tour de France, and Nigel Cole is making a film about an otter. Steve Coogan will be a porn baron, Bridget Jones will have a baby, Nick Frost will dance the salsa, Martin Freeman will save Santa, and Sean Bean, bless the man, will probably die.
None of the above quite made it into this list, which collects thirteen of 2013’s tastiest looking UK films…
A Field In England
Filmed in just two weeks in a titular English field (Surrey, we hear), A Field In England is Ben Wheatley’s follow-up to superb black comedy Sightseers. The film sees Wheatley back directing his own material, and was once again co-penned with Amy Jump, the ‘Mrs’ half of the Mr and Mrs Wheatley writing team.
Set during the English Civil War, A Field In England follows a group of deserters who flee a battle only to encounter a treasure-hunting alchemist. After stumbling upon a patch of magic mushrooms, things take a decided turn towards the unusual for the seventeenth century truant soldiers.
Currently in post-production, Wheatley’s fourth feature, filmed in black-and-white, is being billed as an eighteen-rated horror, though taking into account the director’s back catalogue and the raft of comic talent appearing in the film (long-time Wheatley collaborator Michael Smiley, The League of Gentlemen’s Reece Shearsmith and The Mighty Boosh’s Julian Barratt), we’d be surprised if there isn’t a sense of humour lurking disquietingly below the terror.
Release date: TBC
The World’s End
First there was “you’ve got red on you” Shaun and Ed, then came “Do you want anything from the shop?” Sgt Angel and PC Butterman, and soon, it’ll be the turn of (memorable quote to be completed in August 2013) Gary King and Andy Knight, two pals on an apocalyptic pub crawl.
The World’s End completes Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy with the story of five childhood friends – Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, and Eddie Marsan – reuniting for what could very well be the last drinking session on the planet.
Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz combined wit, style, and warmth in a way that only Wright and Pegg, the two incumbent kings of British geekdom could, so we’ve justifiably high hopes for The World’s End. Between this and Alan Partridge’s big-screen debut, August can’t come soon enough.
Release date: 14th of August 2013
How I Live Now
Thanks to the success of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, teen dystopias are pushing vampire romances and fairy tale adaptations off cinema screens, and Kevin Macdonald’s How I Live Now promises to be one of 2013’s most interesting takes on the genre.
Even disregarding the acclaim that greeted Meg Rosoff’s debut novel on publication in 2004 (a review from The Guardian hailed it as an “immediate classic”, an opinion shared by many), the involvement of Kevin Macdonald is enough to pique our interest. The director of some of the strongest documentaries in recent years, from this year’s Marley to 1999’s One Day in September and 2003’s Touching the Void, not to mention Idi Amin biopic The Last King of Scotland, Macdonald is no lightweight choice, and How I Live Now promises to be a world away from teen fluff.
Saoirse Ronan (Atonement, The Lovely Bones, Hanna) stars as fifteen-year-old New Yorker Daisy, sent to stay with her rural English cousins in the build-up to the eruption of World War III. Ronan is joined by a young cast of little-known UK actors in the film, which is currently in post-production.
Release date: TBC
Any collection of the promising UK films of next year (on this site at least) would be remiss not to feature the sequel to 2010’s Kick-Ass, due in cinemas next July.
Filmed in Toronto and London, Kick-Ass 2 comes adapted and helmed by Jeff Wadlow, taking over from Matthew Vaughn. This time around sees Kick-Ass team up with a new DIY superhero league, while Hit-Girl faces her most terrifying foe yet: the high school mean girl.
Evidently jealous of co-star Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s double-barrelled pizazz, co-stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chloe Grace Moretz have each given themselves an extra name in time for the sequel, which sees them back in the roles of vigilante crime-fighters Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl (aka teens David Lizewski and Mindy McCready). The returning trio are joined by Jim Carrey and John Leguizamo.
Release date: 19th of July 2013
After cutting his teeth on music video and documentary, Richard Ayoade made his feature debut in 2011 with an adaptation of Submarine, Joe Dunthorne’s sardonic chronicle of Swansea teen angst. Taking on both adapting and directing duties, Ayoade pulled off a rare trick with Submarine, by turning a great book into an equally great film.
Ayoade’s second feature sounds every bit as enticing as his first, starring as it does Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network, Zombieland) and Mia Wasikowska (Jane Eyre, Alice In Wonderland, The Kids Are All Right), and co-written by Mister Lonely’s Avi Korine, brother to US indie director Harmony Korine. Adapted from Dostoevsky’s novella of the same name, The Double is a comedy about a man driven insane by the appearance of his doppelganger. Submarine’s Noah Taylor and Yasmin Paige also star.
Distributed by StudioCanal and filmed in London last summer, The Double’s release date is yet to be confirmed.
Release date: TBC
Riding high on the success of this summer’s Olympic Opening Ceremony, Danny Boyle’s feature follow-up to 127 Hours is dramatic thriller Trance, which promises to be yet another showcase for the director’s dynamic visual imagination.
Trance begins with a fairly conventional premise involving a fine art auctioneer, a criminal gang, and a valuable lost painting, before spiralling into a picture in which “…boundaries between desire, reality and hypnotic suggestion begin to blur”. That all sounds rather up Danny Boyle’s street, we’d have said.
The script comes from The Secret of Crickley Hall’s Joe Ahearne, and the film stars James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel and Rosario Dawson.
Release date: TBC (but the 14th of March 2013 in Denmark apparently).
There’s more than a hint of Groundhog Day about Richard Curtis’ third directorial feature, which for us, combined with its time-travel plot, Dredd’s Domhnall Gleeson and Sherlock Holmes’ Rachel McAdams, counts strongly in its favour.
About Time tells the story of Tim, who uses his time-travel ability to attempt to woo, wed, and then become a parent with, love-interest Mary. Informed of his inherited power by his father (played by – who else? – Bill Nighy), Tim sets about mucking around in his own chronology to alter his love life, resulting in he and Mary having multiple ‘first’ meetings. In true Richard Curtis style, it seems, there’s also a last-minute rush to the church/airport/hotel/hospital (delete as appropriate).
Curtis may not be the most fashionable of film and TV names to drop, but his work is warmly loved by many, many people, not least around here because of his emotionally resonant script for Doctor Who’s 2010’s Vincent and the Doctor.
Release date: 22nd of March 2013
Welcome to the Punch
Welcome To The Punch boasts an excellent cast, including the likes of James McAvoy, Mark Strong, Peter Mullan, David Morrissey, and Andrea Riseborough, and tells the story of a detective forced to work with his nemesis to uncover a conspiracy.
An action thriller set in the world of detectives and criminal kingpins, it would be easy to dismiss Eran Creevy’s Welcome to the Punch as just another of the UK’s identikit gritty “you slaaag” Brit crime films. Anyone lucky enough to see Creevy’s shrewdly made debut however, will recognise what sets his work apart. Mercifully free of the stylised Guy Ritchie-alike tics that have come to dominate the genre, Shifty (about a man returning to his hometown to find an old friend in over his head with drugs), was a calling card for a very talented new writer/director.
McAvoy and Strong have been talking the film up to anyone who’ll listen, praising its lack of humility and determination to be a “rip-roaring, really emotionally powerful piece of entertainment”. Strong has emphasised its difference to The Sweeney and others like it, saying “Whenever we came across a line that sounds a bit geezer-ish or gangster-ish, we just got rid of it”. Sage move, consider our ticket sold.
Release date: 15th of March 2013
Alan Partridge: The Movie
After years in the pipeline, Alan Partridge: The Movie is finally coming to cinemas (point of business: the internet officially hit its aha!-gag saturation point when the news first broke in May, hence the absence of them here).
The film, directed by Father Ted’s Declan Lowney and co-written by Steve Coogan, Armando Iannucci, and Peter Baynham is due for release on the 16th of August, in the week that’s been reserved for hopeful UK comedy breakthroughs since The Inbetweeners Movie made an absolute shedload of cash in 2011. Backed by StudioCanal, BBC Films and the BFI film fund, Alan Partridge: The Movie sees the erstwhile TV presenter attempt to “salvage his public career while negotiating a potentially violent turn of events”.
Filming is due to begin in January 2013, after which point we expect to hear a little more about the plot and who’ll be joining Coogan in the big screen debut of Norfolk’s most famous export.
Release date: 16th of August 2013
Supernatural thrillers from first-time UK directors tipped for success are very much our cup of tea, hence the enthusiasm for Adam Wimpenny’s Blackwood. The story of a history professor who moves with his wife and young son to a remote country village where he begins an obsessive investigation into a local mystery, Blackwood stars Russell Tovey, Ed Stoppard, Sophia Miles and Mr Emma Thompson (or Greg Wise, as the IMDb insists).
Blackwood is currently being filmed in and around London, and is due for release later this year. Adam Wimpenny – another of Screen International’s Stars of Tomorrow – recently had the honour of having his most recent short, First Time, screened nationally alongside Nic Cage’s The Bad Lieutenant. We’ll bring you more on Blackwood as it arrives.
Release date: TBC
Not a great deal is yet known about David Leon’s feature debut, but with a cast including Damian Lewis, Peter Capaldi, Misfits’ Iwan Rheon, Downton Abbey’s Jessica Brown-Findlay, and a director whose latest short won Best Narrative Feature at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival, the crime thriller certainly deserves to have an eye kept on it.
Due to film in early 2013, Driven is being billed as a semi-autobiographical thriller based on writer/director Leon’s childhood experiences growing up in late eighties Newcastle. Better known at present for his work in front of the camera, David Leon was this year named one of Screen International’s Stars of Tomorrow.
Release date: TBC
The Quiet Ones
Hammer’s The Quiet Ones is its second UK production since the brand’s revival, and the follow-up to this year’s The Woman In Black. Set at Oxford University in the early seventies, the film stars Sherlock Holmes and Mad Men’s Jared Harris as a university physics professor who experiments with ‘negative energy’ in a bid to create paranormal activity.
Sam Claflin (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Snow White and the Huntsman) plays a student of Harris’ Professor Coupland, and the recorder of the group’s dangerous and unethical experiments. Claflin is joined by Being Human’s Erin Richards. John Pogue directs the spooky story, which deals in poltergeists and psychological torture.
Buoyed by the success of The Woman in Black (which has spawned its own sequel, due out in 2014), The Quiet Ones is further proof that Hammer is blessedly back in the UK filmmaking business.
Release date: TBC
Silent Night of the Living Dead
We like Christmas, and we like zombies, so there’s every chance we’ll like UK horror comedy Silent Night of the Living Dead. Due to start filming this spring, it’s to be filmmaker Paul Davis’ directorial feature debut. From a script by Cockneys vs. Zombies, Severance, and Doctor Who’s James Moran, the film promises to make good its title and unite Christmas and the undead in – we quote – “the holiest night of horror the world has ever known”.
Set on Christmas Eve in a West Sussex village high school, Silent Night of the Living Dead (or SNotLD as we’re sure they’d really rather we didn’t call it), stars The League of Gentlemen’s Reece Shearsmith, alongside Django Unchained and From Dusk Till Dawn’s Tom Savini as villagers fending off a zombie invasion. Special effects come from The Wolfman and Star Wars Episode III’s Dave Elsey.
Release date: November 2013
2013 UK co-productions
We couldn’t technically include the following in the above list, as all are co-productions rather than UK films outright, but special mention also goes to Terry Gilliam’s UK/Romanian drama, The Zero Theorum, Duncan Jones’ UK/USA Untitled Ian Fleming biopic, Chan Wook Park’s UK/USA horror thriller Stoker, Sergey Bodrov’s UK/USA fantasy The Seventh Son, and of course, Zack Snyder’s UK/USA/Canada DC fantasy, Man of Steel, all due out next year.
Follow our Twitter feed for faster news and bad jokes right here. And be our Facebook chum here.