Ben Whishaw Dons the Glasses of a Russian Dissident in First Image for ‘Limonov’

After helping close the book on Daniel Craig‘s tenure as 007 in the blockbuster James Bond film No Time to Die, Ben Whishaw will be shedding the title of Q to adopt the multifaceted life of novelist, dissident, butler, poet, rabble rouser, and all around rock star Eduard Limonov in the upcoming film Limonov. Alongside him in the latest film from Kirill Serebrennikov will be Russian actress Viktoria Miroshnichenko, who’ll play his wife Elena. A first image from the film shows Whishaw donning the iconic glasses, beard, and mustache of one of Russia’s most notorious figures.

Limonov follows the life of the titular icon which can only be described as bizarre. The synopsis for the film fleshes him out as “a revolutionary militant, a thug, an underground writer, a butler to a millionaire in Manhattan…but also a switchblade waving poet, a lover of beautiful women, a warmonger, a political agitator and a novelist who wrote of his own greatness.” Limonov’s life took him through Russia, the U.S., and Europe and saw him wear many hats throughout the second half of the 20th Century and the early 21st Century before his death in 2020. The film is based on the best-selling novel from Emmanuel Carrère which details his exploits and role in 20th Century Russia. The book was a massive success, selling 2.5 million copies in Europe alone and being translated for 35 countries.


Pawel Pawlikowski and Ben Hopkins wrote the film alongside the auteur Serebrennikov. It’s only fitting that Serebrennikov helm this film, given his own status as an artist’s artist and enemy of the Kremlin. He’s known around the international film festival circuit for a number of films including (M)uchenik, Leto, Izobrazhaya zhertvu, and Yuri’s Day, picking up 20 awards in the process. Limonov will be an English-language film still, with Wildside and Chapter 2 producing and Pathé, Fremantle España, France 3 Cinema, and Vision Distribution co-producing. Individual producers include Mario Gianani and Lorenzo Gangarossa for Wildside, Dimitri Rassam for Chapter 2, Ilya Stewart with Ardavan Safaee as co-producer for Pathé, and Pawlikowski as an executive producer.

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Whishaw has spent most of his career as a very versatile actor capable of stepping into a variety of different roles, though his stock really rose since becoming Q in Skyfall. Since then, he played alongside Craig in the Bond films, though he also found time in between to voice the wholesome bear Paddington in both the original film and its sequel, appear in the black comedy The Lobster, star alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda and Emily Blunt in Mary Poppins Returns, and play a rabbi in seven episodes of the Fargo TV show. It only makes sense that such a varied actor would take on the varied life of someone like Limonov.

Limonov has already hit one major snag in production. Variety reported that filming had begun in Russia, but due to the war in Ukraine, everything came to a halt. With Serebrennikov already on the Putin regime’s bad side, they opted to shut down filming and evacuate Whishaw from the country. Filming will resume somewhere in Europe.

Limonov will continue production later this year. Right now, Serebrennikov is focused on Cannes, where his latest film Tchaikovsky’s Wife will be shown.

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