Bill Nighy gets to play leading man for a change in Juan Carlos Medina’s Victorian serial killer thriller The Limehouse Golem. Based on the 1994 Peter Ackroyd novel Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem, the film tracks a serial killer stalking the squalid streets of Victorian London in 1880 — eight years before Jack the Ripper would make infamous headlines. Nighy plays Detective Inspector John Kildare, who is tasked with tracking down the mysterious murderer who slaughters several unconnected victims and leaves cryptic messages written in blood. The film, like Ackroyd’s novel, blends fact and fiction, mixing historical figures like Karl Marx and music hall comedian Dan Leno, all set against a dreary, blood-soaked backdrop.
Nighy’s part was originally intended for the late Alan Rickman, who had to leave the part due to his deteriorating health. Olivia Cooke, Douglas Booth, Eddie Marsan round out the cast. After a TIFF premiere (our review), the first trailer for The Limehouse Golem is here, and it’s appropriately moody, with some painterly shots that look like recreations of paintings by Victorian artist John Atkinson Grimshaw. Watch the trailer below, and take a shot everytime a character says “Golem” in a stern, foreboding voice.
Set on the unforgiving, squalid streets of Victorian London in 1880, our tale begins in the baroque, grandiose music hall where the capital’s most renowned performer Dan Leno (Douglas Booth) takes to the stage. The whimsical thespian performs a monologue, informing his dedicated audience of the ghastly fate of a young woman who had once adorned this very stage, his dear friend Elizabeth Cree (Olivia Cooke); for the beguiling songstress is facing up to her forthcoming death by hanging, having been accused of murdering her husband John Cree (Sam Reid). Lizzie’s death seems inevitable, until Detective Inspector John Kildare (Bill Nighy) is assigned to the case of the Limehouse Golem – a nefarious, calculating serial killer, murdering innocent, unconnected victims, leaving behind barely identifiable corpses – and his distinctive signature in blood. All is not what it seems and everyone is a suspect and everyone has a secret.
The Limehouse Golem opens in the U.K. on September 1 2017; no U.S. release date has been announced yet.