‘The Critic’ Casts Ian McKellen, Ben Barnes, & Gemma Arterton In Historical Thriller

The world can never have too much Ian McKellen. So, his fans should be delighted to hear that the two-time Academy Award-nominated actor has been cast to lead the thriller The Critic alongside Gemma Arterton and Mark Strong. Deadline is reporting the trio’s casting in the film and the casting of a supporting cast that includes Lesley Manville, Romola Garai, Ben Barnes, and Alfred Enoch.

The Critic is based on the 2015 Anthony Quinn thriller novel Curtain Call. The story is set in the theater world of 1934 London. McKellen will be playing Jimmy Erskine, one of the most respected and feared critics in town. Arterton will be playing an actress, Nina Land, who, in an attempt to win the critic’s favor, gets wrapped up in a mystery that involved murder, blackmail, and so much more. Strong will be playing the new owner of Jimmy’s newspaper who is at odds with the critic.


McKellen is a Tony and Laurence Olivier award-winning actor who is likely best known for his iconic role as Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. He is also known for his work in such films as the X-Men series and several Shakespeare adaptations like Richard III. Arterton is a two-time Laurence Olivier Award-nominated actress who is known for films like Summerland, Quantum of Solace, and The King’s Man. Strong is another Laurence Olivier Award-winning actor who is known to film audiences for his work in films like 1917 and Zero Dark Thirty.

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The film will also feature a supporting cast of Manville, Garai, Barnes, and Enoch. Manville is best known for her roles in Phantom Thread and Another Year. Garai is known for her performances in Atonement and Suffragette. Barnes is a fan-favorite actor known for his roles in the hit HBO series Westworld and the hit Netflix series Shadow and Bone. Enoch is known for his role as Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter franchise as well as series like How to Get Away With Murder and Foundation.

The Critic is set to be directed by Anand Tucker in his first feature film since the 2010 Rom-Com Leap Year. His other directorial works include the period drama Hilary and Jackie and the drama When Did You Last See Your Father? The novel has been adapted for the screen by Academy Award-nominated writer Patrick Marber, who has previously written Notes on a Scandal and Closer.

The Critic is being produced by Bill Kenwright and Jolyon Symonds. Executive producers on the project include David Gilbery, Tucker, Marber, Mark Gordon, Tom Butterfield, and Harry White.

Production on The Critic is reported to be currently underway in London. Stay tuned to Collider for any future updates on this project.

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