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Martin McDonagh’s ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ to Close London Film Festival

Martin McDonagh’s darkly comic drama “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” will be the closing-night film of the 61st BFI London Film Festival

The film, which stars Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell, will receive its U.K. premiere Oct. 15 at London’s Odeon Leicester Square. McDonagh, McDormand and Rockwell are all expected to attend.

The Oscar-winning British filmmaker’s third feature, “Three Billboards” marks McDonagh’s second to appear at the festival following “Seven Psychopaths” in 2012. “I’m excited to bring this film back to my hometown for its U.K. premiere,” McDonagh said in a statement. “I’m more than proud of it, and if there are any fans of ‘In Bruges’ still out there, I don’t think they’ll be disappointed.”

The film sees McDormand’s Mildred Hayes call out her town’s revered chief of police (Harrelson), after months without a culprit being found in her daughter’s murder, by painting three signs leading into town with a controversial message. When his second-in-command (Rockwell), an immature mama’s boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle between Mildred and Ebbing’s law enforcement escalates. 

Abbie Cornish, Lucas Hedges, Zeljko Ivanek, Caleb Landry Jones, Clarke Peters, Samara Weaving, John Hawkes and Peter Dinklage also star. The movie is produced by Graham Broadbent and Pete Czernin of Blueprint Pictures, alongside McDonagh, and is backed by Film4 and Fox Searchlight.

Clare Stewart, director of the London Film Festival, said: “By turns riotously funny and deeply sobering, this all-too-relevant film confronts division and conflict in small-town America and is driven by a blistering performance from Frances McDormand.”

The film will have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on Sept. 4 before getting its North American bow at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival. Fox Searchlight will release it domestically Nov. 10. Twentieth Century Fox will release the film across the U.K. and Ireland on Jan. 12, 2018.

This year’s BFI London Film Festival, which runs Oct. 4-15, opens with Andy Serkis’ directorial debut “Breathe,” starring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy, as previously announced. The full program will be unveiled Aug. 31. 

Record attendance at last year’s festival totaled 184,700, with the festival program reaching over 193,100 people across the U.K., including satellite screenings and a virtual premiere.

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