As far as American literary giants go, Thomas Wolfe is one of the biggest. Maybe not Ernest Hemingway or F. Scott Fitzgerald big, but Wolfe was hugely influential nonetheless. The upcoming biopic Genius will shed some new light on the author’s life and works (and propensity to go waaaaaay over word-count limits), and you can watch the first trailer for it above.
The sneak peek features some dramatic fireworks between stars Jude Law (as Wolfe) and Colin Firth (as his famed editor, Maxwell Perkins, who also discovered Hemingway and Fitzgerald). Set in 1920s New York, the film focuses on the writing of — well, more like the editing of — Wolfe’s most celebrated novel, Look Homeward, Angel, which Perkins helped scale down from a monstrous first draft that ran thousands of pages and was delivered in boxes. Law in particular eats up the scenery as Wolfe, though Firth is reliably graceful as the more even-keeled Perkins.
“Oscar nominee” is one of the trailer’s central motifs. Joining Law (two noms) and Firth (two noms, one win) is Nicole Kidman (three noms, one win), who plays Wolfe’s girlfriend Aline Bernstein, and Laura Linney (three noms) as Perkins’s wife, Louise Saunders. The film is directed by first-timer Michael Grandage, and written by three-time Oscar nominee John Logan (Gladiator). It also marks the second collaboration between Firth and Kidman in three years (after 2014’s Before I Go to Sleep) and would have made a solid 3-for-3 had Firth not dropped out of voicing the title bear in last year’s sleeper hit Paddington.
Genius, which is based on A. Scott Berg’s National Book Award-winning biography, Max Perkins: Editor of Genius, will hit theaters June 10.