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Steve McQueen’s Heist Thriller ‘Widows,’ With Viola Davis, to Open London Film Festival

The BFI London Film Festival has set Steve McQueen’s heist movie “Widows” as its opening night gala film. The movie packs a star-power punch for LFF’s opening, with a cast that includes Oscar winner Viola Davis, Liam Neeson, Elizabeth Debicki, and “Get Out” star Daniel Kaluuya.

The film follows the wives of a gang of armed robbers who are killed in a failed heist attempt, leaving their widows to finish the job. Set in modern-day Chicago, it is based upon a London-set miniseries from Lynda La Plante that captured viewers’ imaginations when it was aired on ITV in the early 1980s.

McQueen directed and produced “Widows,” his first feature since Academy Award-winning “12 Years a Slave.” He co-wrote the script with “Gone Girl” author Gillian Flynn.

“I am absolutely delighted that ‘Widows’ will be opening this year’s BFI London Film Festival,” McQueen said. “Watching the U.K. TV version of Lynda La Plante’s original thriller as a teenager in the ’80s had a major impact on me, and so it feels very special to be sharing this film with a U.K. audience.”

“Widows” will have its international premiere at the festival on Oct. 10 at the Cineworld in London’s Leicester Square. With Clare Stewart on a year-long sabbatical, Tricia Tuttle is artistic director of the 2018 edition of the festival and Anne-Marie Flynn the interim managing director.

“We treasure the work of BFI fellow and festival alumni Steve McQueen, so it’s an utter pleasure to open our festival with the international premiere of ‘Widows,’” Tuttle said. “This is scintillatingly rich storytelling from a magnificent filmmaker, probing issues around race, class and gender, while always delivering immense style and crackingly sharp thrills.”

The 62nd BFI London Film Festival, in partnership with American Express, runs Oct. 10-21.

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