A movie that tells the “true story” of Charles Darwin will open the 34th Toronto International Film Festival this week – two weeks before it hits theaters in the United Kingdom.
“Creation,” starring Paul Bettany as the world-renowned scientist, tells the story of the 19th-century naturalist and how his landmark work, “The Origin of Species,” came to light.
“Darwin was an extraordinary man – warm, funny, had a very, very modern attitude in bringing up their children and adored them. So we’re very much telling the story of that man,” commented director Jon Amiel during the opening night for the Darwin Exhibition in London’s Natural Museum.
Though Darwin’s theory of evolution plays a big role in the movie, actor Benedict Cumberbatch says the story presented in “Creation” is “a very universal story.”
The movie, which also stars American actress Jennifer Connelly as Darwin’s wife, reveals Darwin as a dedicated family man struggling to accept his daughter’s death and torn between his love for his deeply religious wife and his own “growing belief in a world where God has no place,” according to the film’s synopsis.
“Whether it be the levels of family and life at that time and what that constitutes in both in the death of a daughter and how a family struggles to cope with that to the big debate of the day and the discovery that Darwin made in his work – that has a massively huge audience,” said Cumberbatch, who stars in the movie as Joseph Dalton Hooker, one of the founders of geographical botany and Darwin's closest friend.
“You’ve got a film that is a very intimate biographical portrait of a man and that’s a rich and beautiful and informing celebration of his life,” he added.
The film is currently set to release in U.K. cinemas on Sept. 25 and to make its European premiere at The Curzon Mayfair cinema next Sunday, Sept. 13. A U.S. release date has not yet been set.
In his remarks, Amiel said it was nice to play a role in the revived interest in a man who died nearly 150 years ago.
“But what I would hope is that we’re making a film that would just reach way beyond people who already have some interest in Darwin. I’m hoping that people who go ‘Charles who?’ are going to want to come and see this film,” he said.
The 34th Toronto International Film Festival opens this Thursday and runs through Sept. 19.