United Artists Releasing has revealed the first trailer for director George Miller‘s highly-anticipated Three Thousand Years of Longing, opening in theaters on August 31, 2022. The movie is rated R for some sexual content, graphic nudity and brief violence.
In the fantasy drama, Dr. Alithea Binnie (Tilda Swinton) is an academic – content with life and a creature of reason. While in Istanbul attending a conference, she happens to encounter a Djinn (Idris Elba) who offers her three wishes in exchange for his freedom.
This presents two problems. First, she doubts that he is real and second, because she is a scholar of story and mythology, she knows all the cautionary tales of wishes gone wrong.
The Djinn pleads his case by telling her fantastical stories of his past. Eventually she is beguiled and makes a wish that surprises them both.
Oscar-winning filmmaker George Miller first encountered Alithea and the Djinn when he read British author A.S. BYATT’s 1994 short story The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye in the late 1990s.
“It’s a story that seemed to probe many of the mysteries and paradoxes of life, and so succinctly,” Miller recalls. “Once read it stayed with me, as some stories tend to do… then, one day it occurred to me that it should be a film.”
The filmmaker added: “It felt unique, something that you couldn’t quite fit into any genre and it ticked one very important box – there must be a whole lot more to it than meets the eye. There are stories within stories, a little like One Thousand and One Nights.”
Miller’s production company, Kennedy Miller Mitchell, bought the rights to the story in the late 1990s. Miller collaborated on the screenplay with Augusta Gore.
The Djinn admits to being too fond of the company of women. Through him we meet the Queen of Sheba, a slave and a genius. Gore adds: “The novella comments on the notion of women operating powerfully from positions of powerlessness.”
As the Three Thousand Years of Longing screenplay developed, in and around his other output, Miller was conscious that the film would be very different to his previous feature, 2015’s post-apocalyptic Mad Max: Fury Road.
“Fury Road was mostly set outdoors, this film is mostly indoors,” he notes. “Fury Road had little dialogue; in this film a large part of the action happens through the discourse between Alithea and the Djinn. Fury Road played out in a compressed time frame – three days and two nights. This story happens over three thousand years.”
But for Miller, the commonality was in the dynamic narrative possibilities. “I approach stories like people use Geiger counters,” he explains, “looking for rich, dramatic ‘radiation.’ Is there a deep seam to mine?”
For producer Doug Mitchell (Mad Max: Fury Road, Happy Feet, Babe), “Three Thousand Years of Longing is a uniquely original movie. It has elements of action, adventure, historical epic, but at its core the film explores what’s real and what’s fantasy. And then, above all, it’s about love: the mystery of love.
From Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures, in association with FilmNation Entertainment, Elevate Production Finance, and Sunac, the movie was executive produced by Dean Hood, Craig McMahon, and Kevin Sun. The music is by Tom Holkenborg.