Ironbark has just had its premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and we’ve already got some first impressions from audience members and official reviews!
But, before we get to them, we must share this message Benedict recorded for the event and that was shown right before the movie:
He says (hopefully, this is correct!):
Continue reading First reactions to “Ironbark”
Hello! I’m extremely sorry not to be with you, not least because I like snowboarding and great films and probably everybody at that town at the moment and I’ve always wanted to go to Sundance, in all seriousness. It’s the bassinet of great films and a fantastic festival and a inspiring one for the film culture in general. I really wish I was there just as an audience member. But not least in this instance because I have a film I’m in and have helped produce that is premiering in Sundance.
So, I really hope you enjoy Ironbark. Know that my thoughts are with you. I’m at the other side of the world shooting The Power of the Dog with Jane Campion in New Zealand. That’s a pretty good excuse, not that I need one because I’d be there in a heartbeat for the reasons I mentioned.
Many thanks to everyone involved in making the film, to Ben Pugh and Adam Ackland, to Ben and Glen at FilmNation and, of course, our fearless leader Dominic Cooke. I hope you enjoy the film.
Godspeed and see you next year, maybe! Bye, bye!
In an interview published today, FilmNation’s President of Production, Ben Browning, talked with Deadline Hollywood about the company’s Sundance Festival lineup, incluing Ironbark.
Check out bellow what he said about Benedict’s physical transformation for the role of Greville Wynne. Oh, and the new behind-the-scenes image from the film!
Deadline: I think some people were expecting to see Ironbark at an autumn festival last year…
Browning: We haven’t submitted it to any other festival. There was a blip in terms of its production schedule, which not everyone knows. There’s a section of the film where Benedict Cumberbatch goes through a significant body transformation and that shoot actually happened three-and-a-half months later. That affected the production schedule. We were aspiring for this to be a classical drama like The Imitation Game and The King’s Speech. Getting that exactly right and knowing where to debut it was really important to us. It’s true that the film’s language isn’t necessarily what people might think of as a Sundance movie but it felt to us that this launch would give the film the space to announce itself as something quite different.
Deadline: How much weight did Benedict lose? [We hear it was at least 30-35 pounds]
Browning: I can’t recall exactly but it’s one of those great thespian transformations. You feel it and when you watch the movie with an audience you feel their response to it. I think it conveys very effectively, in simple images, what this guy went through. Benedict’s commitment is immense. He really went for it.
Click here to read the entire interview on Deadline.
Ironbark will have its world premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival tonight at 6.30pm MT, but Benedict’s not expected to attend it, according to the event’s own website. Nonetheless, we’ll keep you updated on any news and first reactions of the movie that may come out tonight.
Entertainment Weekly published an article on Ironbark today, featuring an exclusive new official still and some comments from Benedict on the movie, which he described as “a story of a very average hero”. Take a look:
On his character, Greville Wynne, he said:
He was just a charming Welshman with the gift of the gab. […] He literally goes from being a rather charming businessman heading towards retirement, with a good sense of humor and a jolly manner, to being someone who is basically secreting Minox film cartridges about his case as he tos-and-fros to Moscow under the guise of being part of a British delegation of trade […] It’s a window into a world that’s not that far from our own, sadly, now, again, as far as how things heat up so quickly in politics and on the global stage. […] I think we forget how close we came to not existing anymore.
He also said that mastering his “sort of strange Welsh accent” which is “kind of upper-class, and not quite upper-class enough” was a challenge and so was having to lose a significant amount of weight in three months for just four scenes. He’s not complaining though:
It’s nothing compared to what [Wynne] went through. That’s the thing with these kinds of roles. People go, ‘Whoa, you did that?’ [But] you’re humbled by the reality, which is very far from what you have to do as an actor. And that helps you get there. That gives you all the motivation you need, frankly.”
He also expressed how thrilled he was to work with director Dominic Cooke again:
He’s very much an actor’s director, as well as a brilliant stager. I love his sensibility, and his take on character and relationship is key.
And told the magazine what he sees as the film’s ultimate message:
It is possible for us to be ordinary people that are capable of doing extraordinary things when the time comes, when the questions are asked […] I think that’s what it is — it’s quiet heroics in a very loud world.
You can read the full article on Entertainment Weekly’s website.
We’ve got a date!
Ironbark will make its world premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival on Friday, 24 January, at the Eccles Theater at 6.30 pm MT!
We’ve also got the film’s very first official still, official synopsis and run time (111 minutes):
Businessman Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) and prim but warm housewife Sheila (Jessie Buckley) lead a properly quiet English life. When rumblings of a mole in the Soviet Union government reach British intelligence agent Dickie Franks (Angus Wright) and CIA official Emily Donovan (Rachel Brosnahan), Greville is called upon by his country precisely for his ordinariness. He is thrown into the political conflict, and as his efforts to end the Cuban Missile Crisis deepen, he forges an unbreakable bond with his informant that will be put to the ultimate test. Pressured by Sheila’s suspicion of his secrecy and as the Soviets close in on the plot, Greville proves himself not to be ordinary at all.
Sundance Institute creative advisor Dominic Cooke directs this unflinchingly suspenseful political drama based on a true story. Cumberbatch and Buckley develop a pure and completely charming connection that adds a rosy hue to this dark portrait of the risks of espionage. Ironbark explores diplomacy, patriotism, virtue, and bravery, but above all else, Greville Wynne reminds us of the simple humanity at the center of every conflict.
It was announced earlier today the official line-up for the next year’s edition of the Sundance Festival and, to our incredible joy, ‘Ironbark’ is one of the movies to have its first world premiere there. Variety reported the line-up with only the official synopsis so it’s still unknown the exact day that the premiere will take place or which of the cast/crew members will be in attendance, but we’ll keep an eye on the updates that are about to come. Read the official synopsis below:
Ironbark (U.K. – Director: Dominic Cooke, Screenwriter: Tom O’Connor, Producers: Adam Ackland, Ben Browning, Ben Pugh, Rory Aitken) — The true story of a British businessman unwittingly recruited into one of the greatest international conflicts in history. Forming an unlikely partnership with a Soviet officer hoping to prevent a nuclear confrontation, the two men work together to provide the crucial intelligence used to defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis. Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Merab Ninidze, Rachel Brosnahan, Jessie Buckley.
The Sundance Festival will take place in Utah, USA and will run through 23rd January to 2nd February, 2020.