Lily James transforms into a pharaoh in Finally Dawn first look photos
Lily James transforms into an Egyptian pharaoh as she plays a 1950s leading lady in first look images from Finally Dawn – as the film receives lukewarm reviews at Venice Film Festival
Lily James looks incredible in her latest role as a 1950s Hollywood star playing ‘Egypt’s only female pharaoh’ in a film-within-a-film, Finally Dawn.
The actress, 34, can be seen in first look images from the film set in Rome’s iconic Cinecittà studios, wearing a magnificent neme [crown] on her head.
Lily’s character, Josephine Esperanto, wears heavy make-up including a thick layer of stage foundation and thick black eye-liner with a deep red lip.
Another image shows her out of character, sporting a head of flame-hued tresses with glamorous make-up and dazzling jewellery.
Despite Lily’s striking on-screen image, the film has opened to underwhelming early reviews at the Venice Film Festival this week.
Wow! Lily James looks incredible in her latest role as a 1950s Hollywood star playing ‘Egypt’s only female pharaoh’ in a film-within-a-film, Finally Dawn
Lily, who is the big star of the movie they are shooting, was warmly received but the film generally has been described as ‘uneven’ and ‘not terribly profound’.
Finally dawn sees the rise of Mimosa, a young working-class woman, who is dragged along to an audition as an extras audition but finds herself centre stage due to an encounter with Josephine.
At first, Josephine appears to befriend Mimosa, however it later emerges that the mean-hearted actress has only adopted her as her latest plaything, taking her to a hedonistic party and telling everyone she is a Swedish poet.
The film follows the story of the inexperienced girl [Mimosa], finding her way through one day of exploits and adventures, as she uses her vulnerability as a shield, according to Screen Daily.
Lily’s co-star is Stranger Things’ Joe Keery, who plays her leading man Sean Lockwood, an up and coming star who is mesmerised by Josephine.
Meanwhile, Willem Dafoe takes on the role of Rufus Priori, ‘a canny but kindly art dealer’.
Screen Daily said of the film, directed by Italian writer-director Saverio Costanzo: ‘It seems obviously influenced by Costanzo’s six-year long immersion in the dark female narratives of Italian writer Elena Ferrante.’
‘It also has a lot to say about acting at a time when an older generation of Hollywood stars found themselves challenged by young Method rebels, about the pressures of celebrity, about the patriarchal undertow of menace, abuse and coercion that lay behind the glittering façade of Rome’s dolce vita years.’
Hollywood glamour: Another image shows her out of character, sporting a head of flame-hued tresses with glamorous make-up and dazzling jewellery
Cast: Lily’s co-star is Stranger Things’ Joe Keery (pictured left), who plays her leading man Sean Lockwood, an up and coming star who is mesmerised by Josephine
A reviewer for the Guardian felt like Lily was the main draw in the film, which ‘sagged’ when she was absent from the scene.
They said: ‘Perhaps the film sags a bit when James is absent from the screen – she has here developed a new style in opaque hauteur which we haven’t seen before – and I would have liked to see more of the relationship between Mimosa and Josephine.
‘But there is a great deal of exuberance and enjoyment here, perhaps especially in the daringly extended film-within-a-film scenes, featuring in one case Alba Rohrwacher as Alida Valli; later a scene from that extraordinarily cheesy Ancient Egypt epic is shown at some length. Not a terribly profound film, but delivered with real brio.’
Also commenting on Lily’s on-screen style, Deadline said: ‘Lily James turns up the Gilda-style glamour to 11 here, delivering a show-stopper as she swishes her furs around her shoulders – and entertains herself by passing off her new pet ingenue as a fascinating Swedish poet called Sandy.’
Meanwhile, Variety mused that the issue with the film was its star, Mimosa, [Rebecca Antonaci], because she ‘wasn’t leading lady material’ and branded the film ‘dull’.
They said: ‘One can sense what Costanzo’s trying to do, but he’s made a fatal miscalculation: Mimosa is not leading lady material, and 140 minutes is far too long to spend pretending otherwise.
‘As Stanislavski put it, “There are no small roles, only small actors.” Here is a case when a huge role has been written for and about a small actor — and it shows.’
Offering a mixed response, the Hollywood Reporter critic, said: But instead of creating a pale homage to Fellini’s 1960 classic, the writer and director smartly walks the line between a tone that adores movies and a cynical view of narcissistic actors.
Finally Dawn, is uneven, and at 2 hours and 20 minutes indulgently long, but it is also full of texture, wit and a few done-to-perfection set pieces.’
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