Last week, National Churchill Museum director Tim Riley was hobnobbing with British movie director, Joe Wright, in New York City.
This week, he's planning the Midwest premiere of Wright's latest movie, "Darkest Hour," starring Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill.
The premiere will be next week at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, part of the National Churchill Museum at Westminster College in Fulton. Tickets are now available. The Thursday event will precede national premiere events in New York City and Los Angeles, college officials said.
Wright is the director of 2007's "Atonement," which starred Keira Knightley and James McAvoy. He also directed "Pride & Prejudice" (2005), also starring Knightley. Wright was recently in the Fulton area scouting locations for his next project, "Stoner," Riley said.
"When I told him we were showing his film in this church, he said, 'Wow. That's really cool,'" Riley said.
Wright won't be in town for the upcoming premiere.
"Darkest Hour" is being distributed by Focus Features. It explores the tumultuous first weeks of Churchill's premiership in May 1940. St. Mary's was selected as an appropriate site being the only church in North America that witnessed and survived the German Blitzkrieg at the start of World War II.
There will be a red carpet gala at 5:30 p.m. before the 7 p.m. screening and a special salute at 6:45 p.m. to the Eagle Squadrons, a band of American flyers that volunteered with Britain's Royal Air Force to fight the invading Nazis in the air during the Battle of Britain. One of those pilots was Lt. John Lutz, of Fulton, who was killed in action in 1943. The Eagle Squadrons which were later assigned to the 4th Fighter Group of the U.S. Army Air Corps (later to be renamed the U.S. Air Force) — designated the church in 1992 as its official chapel.
Tickets to the red carpet gala, screening and after party are $80 each, and seating is limited. The dress code is formal/red carpet attire. A photographer will be on hand.
To watch the movie trailer, visit focusfeatures.com/darkesthour. To make a reservation, contact Meda Young at 573-592-5602.
All events will be at the church and National Churchill Museum, 501 Westminster Ave., in Fulton.