Tilda Swinton To Star In Post-Apocalyptic 'Golden-Age' Musical From The Act Of Killing Director

Joshua Oppenheimer is directing a musical. Yes, that Joshua Oppenheimer. 

From the director of "The Act of Killing" and "The Look of Silence," two intense, award-winning documentaries about the Indonesian mass killings of 1965–1966, comes a musical about family. It only gets better from there, folks.

The NEON distributed film is titled "The End" and stars Academy-Award winner Tilda Swinton, "1917" star George McKay, and Stephen Graham from "Boardwalk Empire." Signe Byrge Sørensen from production company Final Cut for Real and Oppenheimer will produce with Wild Atlantic Pictures. So far, next to no details of the plot have been revealed but the film has been described as a "golden-age musical about the last human family." No idea what that means, but I have to say I'm intrigued. The film is set to begin production in 2022, leaving us to wonder and speculate until further notice.

Academy-Award nominated filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer spent years working on his famous pair of documentaries, the first of which served as his debut feature after a number of shorts. Since "The Look of Silence" was released in 2019, he has been named one of the filmmakers of the decade by various publications. Following that, he's been relatively tightlipped about upcoming projects but has let a few key details slip. While the idea of a Joshua Oppenheimer-helmed musical certainly feels unexpected, this isn't the first he's spoken of the project.

Everything We Know About The End

Speaking to Screen Daily at The Doha Film Institute's Qumra back in 2016, Oppenheimer revealed that he had both a third documentary feature and various narrative projects in the works, one of which was presented as a musical loosely inspired by the Samuel Beckett play, "Happy Days." A lover of screen musicals, Oppenheimer also mentioned taking inspiration from Jacques Demy's "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg," saying, "there are no good or bad characters and the tragedy emerges from the interactions of people."

Might this be the same project? It's hard to imagine Oppenheimer having more than one musical in the works, but the little we know of "The End" doesn't exactly match up with the plot of "Happy Days." The Beckett play tells the story of Winnie, a middle-aged woman buried to her waist in a mound of scorched Earth while her husband moves freely in the background. Going about her daily routine, a gun on stage within her reach, Winnie spends much of the story recounting happier times from her past. "The End" could just be a very loose adaptation of the story, keeping with its themes about the passage of time, the weight of disappointment, and the inevitability of death. The play's dark humor and darker themes would fit pretty perfectly into a post-apocalyptic setting, after all.

Oppenheimer's upcoming film, however different in form, does seem somewhat inspired by his past work. In a 2019 interview with Indiewire, he mentioned another key theme of his musical: guilt. Of this, he said:

"I'm working on what would seem to be a totally different project, which is a musical, but it's actually all about guilt and [there's been a] number of times that I've gone back to what I learned making these films, which has something to do with how we can hurt each other in ways where it becomes too painful to change, because change requires facing who you are. There's a moral warning in the guilt that I explored in Indonesia, which I suppose is what happens when we hurt people in ways that are so bad that we can't face ourselves afterwards, and we retreat into denial and prevent ourselves from changing. So, I'm thinking about them each and every day."