Steve McQueen was driven to make female-led movie Widows after noticing how many talented actresses were out of work.
Viola Davis leads a cast of stars including Liam Neeson, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Robert Duvall and Daniel Kaluuya in the remake of the groundbreaking ’80s British TV show written by Lynda La Plante, which ran for two seasons.
The show made a big impression on the London-born director, who after coming to Hollywood, had decided he would tell a woman’s story as the follow-up to his 2013 Oscar-winning film 12 Years a Slave.
“I remember seeing Lynda La Plante’s TV show Widows at 13 years old,” McQueen told the Chicago Sun-Times. “The idea that these women achieved something no one thought they had the capability of doing left a big impression on me, especially at a time in my life when I was being judged in the same way,” explained McQueen, who has previously spoken of the inequality and institutional racism he experienced during his school years. “Many years later, when I first came to Hollywood, I was struck by how many talented actresses weren’t working,” he continued. “I decided then that after I made a movie about slavery that I wanted to make a female-driven film.”
Widows follows four women whose career criminal husbands are gone, leaving them with a serious debt to pay, so they plan a heist to raise the money.
In the trailer, which debuted on Monday (04Jun18), we see the surviving widows come together to try to deal with the debt left behind from the failed job with Viola’s character as the confident leader, clad in full-body armour.
McQueen directed the film from a script he co-wrote with Gone Girl writer Gillian Flynn. New Regency, 20th Century Fox and Film4 are co-financing the movie, which Fox will distribute.
While the original TV show was set in the U.K., the movie was filmed in Chicago, which McQueen chose because of its many intersecting “levels of interest”.
“Political, racial, religion, policing, criminality and how all of those networks at some point cross over and have a relationship to each other,” the 48-year-old explained. “I believe environments create their own style… I don’t like the idea of bringing a stencil onto things. I believe very much in embracing what’s already there.”
Widows is set to hit cinemas in November.