Just over two years after the U.K. voted to leave the European Union, Benedict Cumberbatch stars in the trailer for HBO’s Brexit, a film depicting the lead-up to the 2016 referendum on the U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union.
“Everybody knows who won. Not everyone knows how,” says Cumberbatch’s Dominic Cummings in the opening to the trailer, sporting a seriously receded hairline. Cummings served as “leading strategist” and campaign director on the Vote Leave campaign, and in the trailer, we see how his machinations contributed to Leave’s upset victory in the U.K.
“We want to return to a time when we knew our place, and where things made sense. Fictional or not,” he says, as he polls British citizens on their thoughts on issues like race and immigration. In addition to Cumberbatch, Brexit stars Rory Kinnear as Craig Oliver, Prime Minister David Cameron’s director of communications and head of the Remain campaign.
Directed by Toby Haynes (Black Mirror’s “U.S.S. Callister”) and written by British playwright James Graham, Brexit was produced by HBO Films in association with Channel 4, which in May announced that Cumberbatch would star in the British “political thriller,” along with BBC Films and House Productions. The Sherlock star is no stranger to this sort of hot-button thriller, having previously portrayed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2013’s The Fifth Estate.
Stateside, Cumberbatch was most recently attached to star in Marvel’s Doctor Strange 2, which Scott Derrickson will return to direct.
Brexit premieres on HBO Jan. 19, 2019, in the U.S.
Watch the trailer below.