Colman and Cumberbatch Starring in New War of the Roses Film

Olivia Colman and Benedict Cumberbatch are starring in a remake of The War of the Roses. Read on to learn all of the exciting details!

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Stills of Olivia Colman in "The Lost Daughter and Benedict Cumberbatch in "The Power of the Dog" Still from Netflix.

Olivia Colman and Benedict Cumberbatch are two of the busiest actors at the moment. Soon, the two will be collaborating in an upcoming project. They will star in a new film adaptation of the 1981 novel The War of the Roses by Warren Adler. The film was previously adapted to film in 1989 under the same name. This upcoming version will be entitled Roses. Jay Roach will be directing the film, and Poor Things screenwriter Tony McNamara will be adapting the script for this film. In addition, Searchlight Pictures will be producing the film.

What is The War of the Roses about?

Book cover of "The War of the Roses" with a red rose on a black and white tiled ground with a glass chandelier on the top and a black background.
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The War of the Roses is about Oliver and Barbara Rose, a married couple who seem to live a dream life. They have the perfect home, the perfect marriage, and the perfect family. However, elements of that life soon start to slip. When Oliver has a heart attack, Barbara admits that she doesn’t love him, and they start the process of divorce. In this process, Barbara tells Oliver that she wants everything, including the house, and she will not accept a compromise. That leads to neither of them leaving the house. Despite the advice from their lawyers, the Roses’ divorce becomes a cutthroat battle where Oliver and Barbara will each do whatever it takes to be the winner of the divorce, no matter how sadistic they have to be.

Warren Adler

Book cover of Random Hearts with black birds flying in the sky that is light pink with fluffy clouds.
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The War of the Roses was author Warren Adler’s most successful work, but there are also many other notable books in his bibliography. His novel Random Hearts, about an affair discovered after the affair partners’ deaths, also received great acclaim. The book was later turned into a film of the same name starring Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott Thomas. Along with these novels, Adler wrote The Sunset Gang stories which were adapted into plays that aired on American Playhouse. The plays starred Uta Hagen, Harold Gould, Jerry Stiller, Doris Roberts, and more. In 2019, Adler died of liver cancer at the age of 91.

The Original Film

Still from The War of the Roses film with Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas lying in bed with a gold ornate structure on top of their bed.
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The original film came out in 1989. It starred Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner as Oliver and Barbara respectively. The film also starred Danny Devito as Oliver’s lawyer, Gavin, with Devito directing the film as well. The movie did well financially, being the thirteenth highest-grossing film of 1989, and critically, with an 83 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. This adaptation also earned three Golden Globe nominations, one for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and one each for Douglas and Turner.

Olivia Colman

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At the moment, it looks like everyone wants to get Olivia Colman in their project. She rose to high fame with roles in television series like Broadchurch and Fleabag. Her status appears to have grown since her 2019 Oscar win for The Favourite. Since then, she has starred as Queen Elizabeth in the third and fourth seasons of The Crown to great critical acclaim and an Emmy win. After The Favourite, her next Oscar nominations came from The Father and The Lost Daughter. This past year, Colman made notable appearances in the popular shows Heartstopper and The Bear.

Benedict Cumberbatch

Still of Benedict Cumberbatch in "The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar" wearing a bluish-gray suit with a white sweater reading a book with a colorful floor to ceiling bookshelf and ladder in the background and a patterned chair.
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Since Benedict Cumberbatch’s run as the titular character in the beloved television series Sherlock, he has been an actor to watch. He has two Oscar nominations, one for The Imitation Game and one for The Power of the Dog. Cumberbatch has been nominated for eight Emmys and won once for Sherlock: His Last Vow. Other notable projects of his include 12 Years a Slave, Doctor Strange, Patrick Melrose, and The Hobbit film series. Most recently, Cumberbatch starred in Wes Anderson’s The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, which won the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film at this year’s Oscars.

Jay Roach

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Jay Roach has decades of popular films under his belt. The first big films that he directed were the three highly-appreciated Austin Powers films. Roach also directed Meet the Parents and its sequel, Meet the Fockers. He has also directed more serious films like Trumbo and Bombshell. Roach also got great recognition for his television films Recount and Game Change, as both films won Best Television Movie at the Emmys.

Tony McNamara

Still from "poor Things" with Mark Ruffalo holding Emma Stone wearing historical period clothes with green couches and chairs in the background and goldfish patterns.
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Tony McNamara has written for many big projects in recent years. Most recently, McNamara penned the script for Poor Things, which earned him his second Academy Award nomination. He also wrote The Favourite, which is what got him his first Academy Award nomination, and Cruella. In terms of television, McNamara is the creator of the seven-time Emmy-nominated historical comedy series The Great.

It can be risky to do a remake of a film that did so well. Nevertheless, Roses is going to try. Since the name has changed and this new film is going to be made in this modern time, that should mean that there will be some new takes on the story or some interesting differences. Furthermore, with the quite notable cast and crew, there is a lot of talent behind this project, which should help it a lot. The War of the Roses has a thrilling story, and it should be interesting to see if it can get even more thrilling.


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