Daniel Radcliffe continues to distance himself from his Harry Potter reputation. And the more projects he does like Escape from Pretoria, the more we’ll forget that Radcliffe the adult once wielded a wand at Hogwarts as a child.
The trailer was released today for the film, an intense prison break thriller based on the true story of Tim Jenkin, whom Radcliffe portrays. Jenkin was an African National Congress activist incarcerated in a maximum security prison in the 1970s during the height of Apartheid. In fact, it was forty years ago today that Jenkin did something quite significant (not to spoil the movie… which the title already does).
Also starring Daniel Webber (The Punisher), Mark Leonard Winter (The Dressmaker), Ian Hart (Mary Queen of Scots), and Stephen Hunter (The Hobbit trilogy), the film looks to join the ranks of other great prison escape movies. And the trailer suggests it has much in common with a pair of classics: Escape from Alcatraz and Papillon (the 1973 one with Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, of course).
Here’s an official synopsis from Signature Entertainment:
Daniel Radcliffe stars as Tim Jenkin – a real life ANC activist who was imprisoned in Africa’s maximum security prison Pretoria in the 1970s during the Apartheid. Along with two imprisoned fellow freedom fighters, played by Daniel Webber and Mark Leonard Winter, Tim escaped on 11th December 1970 using hand-made wooden keys which he crafted whilst incarcerated.
Prison movies have a long history in Hollywood. Watching an incarcerated individual cope with his or her abjectly hopeless surroundings has been great fodder for storytelling over the years. Just yesterday marked the twentieth anniversary of The Green Mile.
Based on Jenkin’s own book of the same name, Escape from Pretoria was directed by Francis Annan, who also co-wrote the script with L.H. Adams. You can check out the trailer below. The movie looks forward to a UK theatrical release on March 6, 2020.