The upcoming adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s classic romantic drama Far From the Madding Crowd debuted its first teaser trailer on Monday. The new interpretation of the iconic novel has been attracting attention for some time thanks to its all-star cast, lead by the magnificent Academy Award nominated actress Carey Mulligan, alongside the multi-talented Michael Sheen and Atonement actress Juno Temple. The film’s script was written by best-selling One Day writer David Nicholls and the movie was directed by celebrated Danish director Thomas Vinterberg. Film fans across the globe were treated to their first preview of Far From the Madding Crowd on Monday in the shape of an enigmatic, gorgeously shot teaser trailer.
Last brought to the big screen in 1967, starring Julie Christie as the lead, Far From the Madding Crowd tells the story of Bathsheba Everdene, one of Thomas Hardy’s most iconic heroines. Fans of The Hunger Games will be interested to note that Bathsheba Everdene is the namesake of Katniss Everdeen: author Suzanne Collins has stated she chose to name Katniss for Bathsheba as she made an immediate connection between these two determined young women, forced to make difficult decisions.
Independent, willful and beautiful, Bathsheba is the object of desire of three very different men: reliable sheep-farmer Gabriel Oak (up-and-coming Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts), passionate, irresponsible Sergeant Troy (Tom Sturridge, notable for his roles in On the Road and The Boat That Rocked) and older, reliable bachelor William Boldwood (BAFTA-winning Sheen). As with all Hardy’s work, the novel epitomises the social and political conditions of rural nineteenth century England, but arguably its timeless appeal lies in its examination of the intricacies of human relationships and the universality of human passion.
The strikingly shot trailer opening with lush, sun-dappled, pastoral scenes, shot to the accompaniment of Mulligan’s dulcet tones singing traditional folk song ‘Let No Man Steal Your Tyme.’ Mulligan’s singing voice is gorgeous and the folk song perfectly establishes the time and place, as well as the atmosphere of passion and longing. There is very little dialogue and Mulligan does not speak once, but she expresses her character’s emotional turmoil with such feeling and clarity that the viewer is immediately invested in Bathsheba’s story. One of Mulligan’s greatest strengths as an actress is her ability to portray so much emotion, thought and feeling in a single look.
The trailer also establishes the very different personalities of Bathsheba’s three suitors through the respective ways they address her: Sheen’s Boldwood promises to ‘always protect’ her, Sturridge’s Troy says looking at her is ‘like not being able to think’ and Schoenaert’s Gabriel tells her gruffly he will never ‘tell stories’ just to please her. The trailer rushes to its dénouement as trees are seen being chopped down, fields are ablaze with fire and in the dramatic last few seconds the viewer hears marriage vows hauntingly recited.
The trailer’s talented leads, beautiful cinematography and stunning soundtrack make a movie to look out for. Currently due for UK release in May 2015, the film looks certain to more than satisfy the novel’s fans, whilst opening up Hardy’s story to a whole new audience.