Empire of Light has thrilled audiences in the few weeks it has been in theaters. Set in the seaside town of Margate, the film follows Hilary Small, manager of a local cinema, the Empire, as she travels through the ups and downs of life. Along the way, she builds a powerful relationship with Stephen, while navigating her other relationships with her co-workers. Olivia Colman leads the cast and is one of the many stunning actresses involved in the film.
Olivia Colman plays Hillary
Olivia Colman assumes the role of Hilary Small in Empire of Light. As the film’s lead actor, she is seen on the big screen for most of the picture. As a Norwich resident, Colman’s journey to Margate was not far from her hometown. During filming, Colman was reportedly “critical” of some of the sex scenes in the film. It is reported that he thought they were not “necessary to advance the plot”.
Colman made a name for herself starring in the Netflix show Royals The Crown, as well as winning a Best Actress Oscar in 2018’s The Favourite.
Michael Ward plays Stephen
Stephen is something of a lover of Hilary in Empire of Light. The young character is played by Michael Ward, who some viewers may have seen starring in the Netflix action movie The Old Guard alongside Charlize Theron. He also had a main role on Top Boy as Jamie from the third season to the fourth.
Ward starred in 2019’s Blue Story, which was directed by British rapper Rapman. The picture received critical acclaim, earning Ward a BAFTA Rising Star Award for her performance.
Colin Firth plays Donald Ellis
British legend Colin Firth takes on the role of Donald Ellis in Empire of Light. He is the man with whom Hilary is having an affair at her work, leaving her feeling guilty and suffering even more from her diagnosis of schizophrenia.
Firth has starred in countless movies over the years, including Mary Poppins Returns, the Kingsman series, and 1917, which was also directed by Empire of Light director Sam Mendes.
Firth and Colman appeared on-screen together in the 2021 film Mothering Sunday.
Toby Jones plays Norman
Another British acting legend involved in Empire of Light is Toby Jones, the star behind Norman the Empire Cinema projectionist. The character is central to the picture, as he introduces Hilary to the movie Being There, (hopefully) the beginning of her recovery from mental illness.
Empire of Light is already in theaters.
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