“That’s the way to do it!” And by “it,” I mean, cut a trailer for a period piece about puppeteers.
Seriously, an hour ago, I didn’t have much interest in Judy & Punch, a revenge-themed riff on the famous puppet show Punch and Judy starring Mia Wasikowska and Damon Herriman, who played Charles Manson in both Mindhunter and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. But after watching this trailer, you can count this genre fan all the way in.
Written and directed by The Crown actress Mirrah Foulkes, the film is set in the rough-and-tumble town of Seaside, where villagers flock to Punch and Judy’s marionette theatre. Though Punch (Herriman) proclaims himself the greatest puppeteer and his beating stick rouses cheers from the crowd, it’s Judy (Wasikowska) who breathes artistry into the otherwise crude show. But following a drinking bout and a tragic mishap with their child, the hot-tempered Punch brutally beats Judy, leaving her for dead in the woods. Taken in by Doctor Goodtime and a society of outcasts, Judy plots her revenge.
Hmmm… a drunken asshole; a tragedy involving a child; a woman left for dead; it sounds just like Jennifer Kent‘s rape-revenge tale The Nightingale, which is one of the best films I’ve seen all year — and it didn’t even have puppets! Coincidentally, it did co-star Herriman, who having himself quite a year.
Judy & Punch earned solid reviews out of Sundance earlier this year, and while a U.S. release has yet to be announced, the film will hit theaters in the UK on Nov. 15, which may hint that a domestic release isn’t far behind. I can’t wait to see this film, which looks wholly unique and yet comfortingly familiar.
Watch the trailer below, and when you’re done, check out Frosty’s interview with Herriman, who talked about what it was like to play Manson at two completely different stages of his life for two very different A-list filmmakers.