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Yorgos Lanthimos’ ‘The Favourite’ to Be London Film Festival Centerpiece

Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favourite” has been selected as this year’s centerpiece American Express Gala at the BFI London Film Festival, organizers announced Thursday. The English-language costume drama, which stars Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman in a tale of palace intrigue, will receive its U.K. premiere at the festival Oct. 18.

The film is Oscar-nominated Lanthimos’ follow-up to “The Lobster” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer.” It world-premieres at the Venice Film Festival next month.

“This is wickedly funny filmmaking from Yorgos Lanthimos, who is operating at virtuoso frequency,” said Tricia Tuttle, acting artistic director of the London Film Festival. “‘The Favourite’ is a delight from start to finish, powered by a trio of riotous performances from Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, who are all clearly reveling in the wit and rhythm of the script.”

Colman, who is currently playing Queen Elizabeth II in the next two seasons of “The Crown,” takes on the role of another British monarch in “The Favourite”: Queen Anne, who reigned in the early 18th century and was the last of the Stuart dynasty to occupy the throne. Her friend Lady Sarah, played by Weisz, is tending to the infirm queen and governing on her behalf when an ambitious new servant, Abigail, played by Stone, arrives and disrupts life at court.

Other cast members include Nicholas Hoult, Joe Alwyn, James Smith, Mark Gatiss and Jenny Rainsford. The film was written by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara and produced by Lanthimos, Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney and Lee Magiday.

The 62nd BFI London Film Festival runs Oct. 10-21.

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