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Penny Dreadful star Rory Kinnear has returned to the 19th century for his latest film Peterloo, which got its first trailer yesterday (July 24).

Unfortunately there’s nothing fantastical about the events it portrays. The film takes its title from the notorious massacre that took place in Manchester, England in 1819, when armed soldiers charged on a peaceful demonstration of cotton workers. One of the bloodiest episodes in British history, the name references both the Battle of Waterloo that had taken place four years earlier and St. Peter’s Square, where the protestors gathered.

Rory plays Henry Hunt, a real-life campaigner for equal voting rights, and leads a cast that also features Shameless‘s Maxine Peake, A Very English Scandal‘s David Bamber, Rillington Place‘s Nico Mirallegro and Blackadder‘s Tim McInnerny.

The trailer shows the build-up to the massacre, as a crowd chants “liberty or death,” while soldiers drink and sharpen their swords. Watch:

The film will mark the massacre’s 200th anniversary when it opens later this year. It also represents the most ambitious and largest budget film to date by director Mike Leigh, who built his reputation with more intimate character dramas such as Secrets & Lies and Vera Drake.

In recent years, though, he has increasingly turned to history for inspiration, including 2014’s Mr. Turner, his biopic of painter J.M.W. Turner starring Timothy Spall. That film was a hit, receiving four nominations at both the Oscar and BAFTA Awards, and plaudits from critics and movie fans alike. His follow-up looks set to do similar.

Peterloo opens in theaters on November 9, 2018.

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Filed Under: Mike Leigh, Rory Kinnear
By Kat Sommers
Kat is a freelance writer for Anglophenia.