Joe Wright to direct episode of Netflix’s Black Mirror
James R | On 13, Feb 2016
Where do you go from the colourful, big budget fantasy of Pan? Somewhere very dark, judging by Joe Wright’s latest gig: he’s directing an episode of Black Mirror.
Charlie Brooker’s anthology series, which was recently snapped up by Netflix to become an original show for the streaming giant, has made a name for its bleak deconstruction of our modern technology-obsessed age. Hugh Jackman on a flying ship, this ain’t.
It’s something of a surprise step for the Atonement director, who hasn’t been near the small screen since 2003, when he helmed the BBC’s mini-series Charles II: The Power and the Passion. But the Golden Globe-nominated filmmaker bagged one of his two BAFTAs from that job – and it’s easy to imagine similar acclaim following his time on Black Mirror, with Channel 4’s sci-fi show already earning an Emmy, a Peabody Award, a Rose D’Or and its own BAFTA nomination.
More than that, though, Black Mirror has something else going for it: it’s different. Wright’s career has been full of diverse choices; after Hanna came arch period adaptation Anna Karenina and, between that and Pan, came a stint directing A Season in the Congo at London’s Young Vic theatre. The combination of his versatility and visual flair and Brooker’s acerbic pen is promising indeed.
What do we know about the episode he’s directing? Not much. Deadline, who broke the news, confirms that it will star Bryce Dallas Howard and Alice Eve, but other details are scarce, although it’s safe to say that it won’t be a happy story. What we do know, though, is that they’re not the only big names to be drawn to Black Mirror. After Jon Hamm and Rafe Spall in the series’ Christmas special, both Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Mackenzie Davis have signed on to appear in the new series, while Owen Harris – who helmed Be Right Back, a story about a company that can bring back loved ones as virtual dummy, using information from his online history – will also return to direct at least one outing.
Indie production company House of Tomorrow will continue to produce the new episodes, with Brooker and Annabel Jones, who exec produced the first seven episodes of the series, continuing to serve as executive producers and showrunners.
Netflix has ordered 12 new instalments for the show, with them set to air on Channel 4 first in the UK, before arriving on Netflix at a later date.
For more on the show, see our 10 things we learned from Black Mirror.