You better hold tight to your cinema seat because this year the capital will be in serious peril.
We’ve already told you that London will fall in London Has Fallen (March). And if the grammar in that sentence isn’t perturbing enough, Steven Spielberg will also be unleashing tongue-tangled giants on us in his big screen adaptation of The BFG (July).
But before both of those, our city is set to be trampled by slavering hordes of Regency era corpses in Pride And Prejudice And Zombies (February). This mash-up might sound like a lot of rot, but it actually has as good a cast as any real period drama — including Lily James, Charles Dance and Matt Smith — so we’ll see how long they can keep the gag alive. Later in the year, Matt Smith will also take on modern 'infected' zombies in the suburbs of London along with Agyness Deyn in Patient Zero (September).
Tim Burton returns to Wonderland with the gleefully cartoonish Alice Through the Looking Glass (May), which will flit between Lewis Carroll’s London and its nonsensical twin on the other side of the mirror. And similarly, The Legend Of Tarzan (July) will juxtapose teeming jungles with the civility of Victorian London; sure, we’ve seen this story many times before, but this one is made by David Yates who did a good job with the last few Harry Potters, so it should be worth a look. Sticking with glossy fantasy, Benedict Cumberbatch will also be shazamming about the place as goateed wizard Doctor Strange (October).
For more grown up thrills try Our Kind Of Traitor (May), an adaptation of John le Carré’s spy novel with Ewan McGregor, Naomie Harris and Damian Lewis. It’s all about a couple who get caught in the web of lies created by a defecting Russian oligarch. Meanwhile, A United Kingdom (tba) tells the true story of Prince Seretse Khama of Botswana who stirred up racial tension on all sides in the 1940s by marrying a clerk from Lloyd's of London. The film is made by Amma Assante who impressed with Belle a few years ago and stars David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike. And there's an intriguing adaptation of Peter Ackroyd's corking period crime novel The Limehouse Golem (tba) with a script by Jane Goldman.
A more abstract but equally treacherous version of the capital takes shape in Ben Wheatley’s adaptation of JG Ballard’s novel High-Rise (March). This one kicks off with Tom Hiddleston eating a barbecued dog then goes into feral overdrive as the inhabitants of a futuristic tower block decide the stratified life they’ve been forced into is not for them. There’s also a similarly trippy vision of London in the smaller scale but hopefully interesting Set The Thames On Fire (tba) set in a future where the river has risen and everyone has gone bananas.
A few of our best actors will be popping up in flicks that are already getting good word of mouth. You can see Tom Hardy alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant (January), though both have been upstaged by a savagely horny bear and an angry reporter. Meanwhile, genuine Cockney legend Michael Caine is tipped for an Oscar for his role in Youth (January) about a retired orchestra conductor summoned home from the continent to perform for Prince Philip’s birthday. And Hackney hero Idris Elba is getting around: as Shere Khan in a staggeringly cool-looking 3D version of The Jungle Book (April) and as the rubber-faced villain in Star Trek Beyond (July).
In March, we’ll also get an insight into one of the greatest directors the capital has produced with Hitchcock/Truffaut, which goes deep inside the craft of filmmaking and features a host of major modern directors throwing in their views on the master’s work.
For those looking for something lighter, there’s Ricky Gervais bringing David Brent out of retirement with Life On The Road (August) and Bridget Jones's Baby (September) with Renee Zellweger looking shiny and new. We also like indie horror-comedy Nina Forever (January) about a love triangle between a girl, a guy and the guy’s undead girlfriend. Similarly improbable is How To Talk To Girls At Parties (tba) about an alien trying to get to grips with Croydon — it's based on a short story by Neil Gaiman and features Nicole Kidman in the cast.
The year ends pretty much like this one did with a huge bang in the form of another new Star Wars movie. It’s being made here in the capital by Gareth Edwards who has Jedi-jumped from Monsters to Godzilla to this, a spin-off from the series set sometime before the original trilogy. It features a ragtag group of rebels and pirates tasked with stealing the blueprints of the Death Star (the cast includes Felicity Jones, Riz Ahmed, Diego Luna, Forest Whitaker and Mads Mikkelsen). It’s called Star Wars: Rogue One and will awaken on 16 December.