Domhnall Gleeson
Domhnall Gleeson sporting his moustache from The Little Stranger at the mother! premiere in London

#IrishAbroad: Lenny Abrahamson’s The Little Stranger set for US release on August 31st

Focus Features has dated three films for late next year in the US. They are set to release Irish director Lenny Abrahamson’s The Little Stranger on August 31st (the Labor Day Weekend), followed by Joel Edgerton’s Boy Erased on September 28th, and then Mary, Queen of Scots, which stars Saoirse Ronan and Eileen O’Higgins, in limited release from November 2nd.

The news increases the chance of awards consideration for the previously Oscar-nominated Abrahamson and Ronan, and increases the likelihood that Mary, Queen of Scots will play at Telluride or Toronto next year. With The Little Stranger‘s release happening before these two it would make a Cannes appearance the better bet. Abrahamson debuted Garage at that festival in 2007, winning the CICAE Art and Essai Cinema Prize.

The Little Stranger is a chilling ghost story written by BAFTA nominee Lucinda Coxon (The Danish Girl) adapted from Waters’ novel. It tells the story of Dr Faraday, the son of a housemaid, who has built a life of quiet respectability as a country doctor. During the long hot summer of 1948, he is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall, where his mother once worked.  The Hall has been home to the Ayres family for more than two centuries.  But it is now in decline and its inhabitants – mother, son and daughter – are haunted by something more ominous than a dying way of life.  When he takes on his new patient, Faraday has no idea how closely, and how terrifyingly, the family’s story is about to become entwined with his own.

The film stars Domhnall Gleeson (Frank) as Dr Faraday, Golden Globe winner Ruth Wilson (The Affair) as Caroline Ayres, BAFTA winner Will Poulter (The Revenant) as Roderick Ayres, and Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling (45 Years) as Mrs Ayres.

Director of Photography is Ole Birkeland (The Crown), with costumes by Steven Noble (BAFTA nominee for The Theory of Everything) and hair and make-up by Sian Grigg (Oscar nominee for The Revenant).  Simon Elliott (The Iron Lady and BAFTA TV winner for Bleak House) is Production Designer.

The Little Stranger is produced by Potboiler Productions’ Gail Egan (The Constant Gardener) and Andrea Calderwood (The Last King of Scotland), and Element Pictures’ Ed Guiney (Room). It is executive produced by Cameron McCracken for Pathé, Daniel Battsek for Film4, Andrew Lowe for Element Pictures, Celine Haddad for the Irish Film Board and Tim O’Shea for Ingenious. Pathé will distribute the film in the UK, France and Switzerland, with Focus Features in North America, and Universal Pictures International elsewhere.

Josie Rourke’s Mary, Queen Of Scots, features Saoirse Ronan in the title role as Mary Stuart. The film follows her attempt to overthrow her cousin Elizabeth I, Queen of England, only to find herself condemned to years of imprisonment before facing execution.

Mary, Queen Of Scots also stars Margot Robbie as Elizabeth, Joe Alwyn as Robert Dudley, David Tennant as Anthony Babington, Jack Lowden as Lord Darnley, Gemma Chan as Bess of Hardwick, Brendan Coyle as Earl of Lennox, and Guy Pearce. The screenplay comes from Beau Willimon (House of Cards) with Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, and Debra Hayward producing.