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14-22 MAY 2024

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First Look for WORDS OF WAR Political Drama Thriller with Maxine Peake, Ciarán Hinds and Jason Isaacs

Rolling Pictures, Good Films Collective, and Concourse Media have partnered on WORDS OF WAR, which will launch worldwide sales in Cannes. The new political drama/thriller features an award-winning ensemble cast lead by Maxine Peake, Ciarán Hinds and Jason Isaacs, and is further bolstered by Ian Hart, Naomi Battrick, Harry Lawtey, Ellie Bamber, Agni Scott, Alec Newman, and Ben Miles. The film was written by Eric Poppen and is directed by James Strong (BROADCHURCH). The cast alone has combined box office earnings that surpass the $9 billion mark worldwide.

WORDS OF WAR is produced by Mark Maxey and Miriam Segal. Sean Penn is executive producer, along with Stefanie Scott, Rick Crumly, Matthew Shreder, Grant Mohrman, Simon Fawcett, Andrew Wing, David and Alexandra Bell and co-executive producers Brett Nemeroff and John Pettit. 


War of Words is based on the real-life story of American-Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya’s pioneering, brave crusade, fighting for an independent voice in Russia in the late 1990s and early 2000s. For seven years, she refused to give up reporting on the Second Chechen War despite numerous acts of intimidation and violence and was then assassinated in 2006. She gained widespread international renown for her criticisms of Russia and stands as a pillar of press freedom. The film and Anna significantly represent a microcosm of a global epidemic of a staggering number of journalists being silenced and murdered in the pursuit of uncovering and exposing the truth.


Concourse Media has acquired world rights for WORDS OF WAR and will be presenting the film to buyers in Cannes for the first time.


The relevance of Anna’s story in today’s evolving geopolitical landscape is striking, and it’s more important than ever to ensure her story is told,” states Concourse CEO, Matthew Shreder. “Words of War is a gripping political thriller filled with intensity that will intrigue and enlighten audiences.”


“Before making this film, I was unaware this was an actual epidemic,” said producer Mark Maxey, reflecting on the shocking number of journalists who have been killed in recent years. Executive producer Sean Penn stated journalists are as “essential to all our freedoms as air.” Maxey added “Every journalist should have the right to report what is happening in the world without fear of death or reprisal.” 


“Making this important film couldn’t come at a more appropriate time in history, given world events. Its relevance and significance show the cultural power of filmmaking. We have gathered an amazingly talented and acclaimed cast and an award-winning director, and we feel sure that we’re making something that pays fitting tribute to Anna and her courage; a film that strikes a balance between mould-breaking, dynamic entertainment and an inspiring, engaging homage to a true heroine of the 21st century.” Said Segal.


Maxine Peake plays Anna Politkovskaya, the title role. Peake is an English stage, radio, film and television actress, best known to American audiences for playing Steven Hawkings’ nurse and wife, Elaine Mason, in The Theory of Everything. Peake made her name in Europe as Twinkle in Victoria Wood’s sitcom Dinnerladies and has since played Veronica in Channel 4’s television series Shameless, barrister Martha Costello in the BBC legal drama Silk and Grace Middleton in The Village. Peake is also an accomplished stage actress, having played the title role in Hamlet.


Ciarán Hinds portrays Dmitry, Anna’s friend and Novaya Gazeta editor-in-chief. Hinds is a prolific and award-winning actor known for his performances in major motion pictures like BelfastThe Woman in BlackTinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. He is known to television audiences for Game of ThronesRomeAbove Suspicion and Shetland. Hinds voiced Grand Pabbie, the Troll King in the animated films Frozen and Frozen II. His stage career includes numerous productions with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and world tour in the title role of Richard III


Jason Isaacs plays Sasha, Anna’s husband. Isaacs is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter film series. Other notable roles include Mr. Darling/Captain Hook in Peter Pan, Col. Tavington in The Patriot, Capt. Steele in Ridley Scott’s Blackhawk Down, Major Briggs in Green Zone, Capt. Waggoner in Fury, Capt. Lorca in Star Trek: Discovery, Field Marshall Zhukov in The Death of Stalin, Rear-Admiral Godfrey in John Madden’s Operation Mincemeat and Jay in the award-winning MASS


The prestigious National Press Club hosted a private screening for WORDS OF WAR (fka ANNA) last month in Washington, D.C., where a number of international luminaries and journalists were in attendance, including Sean Penn, journalist Bob Woodward, U.S. Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA), former CIA director John Brennan. A lively panel discussion led by National Press Club president Emily Wilkins followed the screening and explored the issues raised in the film with panelists Swalwell, Woodward and Brennan. 


“It’s not only a powerful movie but is an absolute truth that authoritarian regimes, like in this case, assassinate reporters” observed Woodward.


“The story of Anna Politkovskaya embodies what it means to be a courageous journalist” noted Brennan, adding “if we don’t have a vibrant and independent free press to expose what is happening in the world today, we are going to be beset by all the problems that we saw in this very powerful film.”


Congressman Swalwell, who last year introduced the Journalism Protection Act legislation, encouraged journalists everywhere “If you are as resilient in your reporting and finding the truth, and speaking truth to power as Anna was, we’re going to be okay.”


Click here for imagery from the National Press Club special event.


Maxine Peake is repped by Maison 2, Ciarán Hinds is repped by CAA, Jason Isaacs is repped by Gersh, Ian Hart is repped by ARG, Naomi Battrick is repped by Curtis Brown Group, Harry Lawtey is repped by UTA, Ellie Bamber is repped by UTA, Agni Scott is repped by The Artists Partnership, Alec Newman is repped by The Artists Partnership, Ben Miles is repped by Another Tongue, James Strong is repped by CAA, Eric Poppen is repped by Bayshore Films & Management. Rolling Pictures is repped by Lon Haber & Co | IPPR. 



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