UPDATE: Ben Witherington has a review on his blog. He loved it! So I am looking forward to seeing it when it comes out. (And wondering how BW gets to see these earlier than the rest of us.) BW also adds some nice historical information. Once bit:
What one needs to know about Wilberforce is that it might never have happened because Wilberforce was torn between becoming a Christian minister and being a politician. He had a renaissance of his faith or a conversion experience in 1785. Interestingly it was the abolitionist Christian group called the Clapham sect (mostly composed of Quakers and Methodists) who told Wilberforce that he could both serve the Lord and serve his country best by being a dynamic force in Parliament working for the social Gospel and social change.
But it is not about John Newton, rather it is about Wilberforce. I just stumbled across the trailer today. (There appears to be a lame “cameo” of Newton at the end of the trailer, but other than that, it does not seem to be his story at all.) Does anyone know anything about this? It looks to be a splendidly made film. I love Ioan Gruffudd as an actor, he does some great stuff. So, any early reviews?
Amazing Grace, based on the life of antislavery pioneer William Wilberforce, is directed by Michael Apted (The World is Not Enough, Coal Miner’s Daughter) from an original screenplay written by Academy Award® nominee Steven Knight (Dirty Pretty Things).The film stars Ioan Gruffudd (Black Hawk Down), Albert Finney (Erin Brockovich), Romola Garai (Vanity Fair), Michael Gambon (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), Benedict Cumberbatch (Hawking), Rufus Sewell (Legend of Zorro), Ciaran Hinds (Rome) and introduces Youssou N’Dour.
Executive Producer is Jeanney Kim, with Mark Cooper as co-producer. Producers on the film are Terrence Malick (The Thin Red Line) and Ed Pressman under their Sunflower Productions banner, Patricia Heaton and David Hunt for FourBoys Films, and Ken Wales.
Gruffudd plays Wilberforce, who, as a Member of Parliament, navigated the world of 18th Century backroom politics to end the slave trade in the British Empire. Albert Finney plays John Newton, a confidante of Wilberforce who inspires him to pursue a life of service to humanity. Benedict Cumberbatch is William Pitt the Younger, England’s youngest ever Prime Minister at the age of 24, who encourages his friend Wilberforce to take up the fight to outlaw slavery and supports him in his struggles in Parliament.
Elected to the House of Commons at the age of 21, and on his way to a successful political career, Wilberforce, over the course of two decades, took on the English establishment and persuaded those in power to end the inhumane trade of slavery.
Romola Garai plays Barbara Spooner, a beautiful and headstrong young woman who shares Wilberforce’s passion for reform, and who becomes his wife after a whirlwind courtship. Youssou N’Dour is Olaudah Equiano. Born in Africa and sent as a slave to the Colonies, Equiano bought his freedom and made his home in London, where he wrote a best-selling account of his life and became a leading figure in the fight to end the slavery of his fellow countrymen.